It has been claimed that holiday parks in the Netherlands are increasingly being used as vehicles for large-scale money laundering operations by criminal gangs.
The claims center is located in eastern Holland and is the result of an investigation into organized crime by the East Netherlands Regional Information and Expertise Centre (RIEC).
Holiday parks are a relatively easy way for criminals to launder money, according to Arnhem mayor and RIEC chairman Ahmed Marcouch, who added that "worrying signals" about criminal investments in the parks prompted the investigation.
The Netflix series "Undercover," which featured an ecstasy manufacturer in the Dutch-speaking region of Belgium who used a holiday village as a cover for his drugs empire and money laundering, helped to highlight the activity.
Meanwhile, according to a confidential report published in part by the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, criminals launder money by purchasing holiday homes and entire parks, renovating them, and then reselling them – or by investing illegal funds in profitable holiday parks.
According to the report, gangs are also using the parks for illegal prostitution, drug production, and storage of illegal goods.
Meanwhile, Origins Detectives told the Telegraaf that because the practice has gone unchecked for so long, it is impossible to prove the money's original criminal origin.
Mayor Marcouch stated that the problem is not unique to his region and that the issue is receiving insufficient attention.
"Tens of millions of euros are being laundered in this way. (..). We have to take preventative action by denying criminal owners licences and by carrying out more coordinated checks," he said.
Local governments, according to the mayor, often see a boost in tourism when holiday parks are renovated. However, he claims that this type of cooperation with local authorities is how criminals infiltrate the legitimate business world.
By fLEXI tEAM