Van Gogh Returns! Theft and recovery of two paintings stolen from the Van Gogh Museum
On 7 December 2002, a burglary took place at the Van Gogh Museum (VGM) in Amsterdam. Within a couple of minutes, the thieves managed to enter the VGM building, grab two paintings from the wall and make their way out again just before the police arrived. The two thieves were eventually caught but the two paintings, ‘View of the Sea at Scheveningen’ and ‘Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen’, were missing without a trace. As of the day of the theft Carel Raymakers of JahaeRaymakers was intensively involved in recovery proceedings and representing the VGM and the owners of the paintings as damaged parties at the criminal proceedings before the district court and court of appeal in Amsterdam.
For 14 years the paintings were gone until they were finally found again in 2016. The Guardia di Finanza, a special Italian police force, found them in Naples during a major investigation of organized crime. In joint cooperation with prosecution authorities in Italy and the Netherlands JahaeRaymakers guided the VGM during the subsequent process to get the paintings back to the Netherlands quickly and safely. The paintings are now once again at display at in the VGM, where everyone can see them.
Landmark Supreme Court judgement on the right to privacy (police search of a smart phone)
Everybody knows that modern smart phones are not just another technological convenience. For many of us they hold ‘the privacies of life.’ For a long time however it was consistent case law of the Dutch courts that the police could just as easily seize and search a smart phone as they could a shopping bag. Inspired by developments in the United States the lawyers at JahaeRaymakers believed this had to change. They were involved in two cases that made it all the way to the Dutch Supreme Court. In 2017 this court accepted our argumentation and ruled that the current legal framework in the Netherlands did not provide a sufficient legal basis for the police to seize a smart phone and copy and search the entire contents thereof.
Code name Peseta: defense of legal professionals: never give up!
In a ‘mega case’ with code name Peseta JahaeRaymakers defended a public notary who was arrested for fraud, money laundering and a criminal organization. After years of investigation and pro-active defense the public notary was fully acquitted of all suspicions. Thereafter we summoned the Dutch State for acting unlawful against the public notary. In an exceptional judgment the court ruled that the Dutch State indeed acted unlawful because of the proven innocence of the public notary.
First port of call for foreign entities needing civil and criminal fraud investigation and asset tracing & recovery assistance.
Our firm was engaged by a multinational upon the discovery of a large fraud within its Dutch daughter company. After having investigated the fraud based on the information available within the daughter company, several third-party discovery proceedings have been initiated to obtain information with regard to the statements of the bank accounts where the defrauded sums had been transferred to. Requests for prejudgement attachments were granted and we obtained favourable decisions in the civil main proceedings against parties who received the defrauded funds. Furthermore, a criminal complaint was lodged and we obtained the criminal file that resulted from the investigation by the police. The public prosecutor started criminal proceedings against the main fraudster. We assisted the Dutch daughter company in joining the criminal proceedings as a civil party. The main fraudster has been convicted in first instance, appeal and cassation. The Dutch daughter company’s claim against the fraudster has fully been granted by the criminal court in three instances.
Full acquittals for all defendants
Sometimes tax authorities have very different opinions of the value of an object than commercial parties. In this case, a loss-showing piece of leisure real estate was off-loaded by the owner to a semi-related party for a price that was in accordance with the valuation by an expert valuator of a reputable firm. However, the tax authorities’ own valuators set the value of the object at about 4 times that number. This valuation however, only took place after the semi-related party had managed to sell the property on for about 4 times the amount he had paid for it himself….
The tax authorities escalated the case into the criminal field, alleging a conspiracy between the seller of the property, the semi-related party and the expert valuator. In the investigation that followed we could show that the tax authorities’ valuation was in error. The case ended in full acquittals for all defendants.
Taking extradition cases all the way to the Court of Justice of the EU
The European Arrest Warrant (EAW) is an arrest warrant valid throughout all member states of the European Union. Our lawyers are frequently involved in EAW cases and often rely on arguments derived from EU law to argue their client’s case. On multiple occasions, this has resulted in the Amsterdam District court referring the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Luxemburg for a preliminary ruling. Our lawyers presented arguments to the CJEU on principled matters such as the right to be tried in one’s presence (C-571/17 PPU – Ardic), the primacy of EU law (C-573/17 – Popławski), the right to liberty and security (C-492/18 PPU – TC) and the possibility to alter the sentence when a convicted person returns to the Netherlands (C‑314/18 – SF).