The Daily Herald writes that the controversial anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders tried to claim between 500,000 and 600,000 euros last year as parliamentary expenses for legal fees incurred during a trial for inciting hatred, the Volkskrant newspaper reported on Saturday.
Sources told the paper that Wilders’ claim was rejected after discussions between members of Parliament’s Management Committee, known as the presidium, and on the advice of an accountant.
Parliamentary parties are allowed to submit expense claims to the presidium if they are for services needed to support their work. Civil servants and most members of the presidium decided the legal fees for the trial were private expenses. In addition, the claim itself was “not very concrete,” according to the newspaper.
Wilders was represented at his trial by celebrity lawyer Bram Moszkowicz, who has since been struck off. A source told the paper that the bill was not broken down into daily expenses, and that there was no proper explanation of all the charges. One member of the presidium told the paper: “I saw the bill and I thought, ‘well there is someone who understands about expenses.’ There was no supporting evidence. It was an amount between 500,000 and 600,000 euros.”Three other members of the presidium have also confirmed the story. The Volkskrant said political party PVV Member of Parliament Martin Bosma, who submitted the claim, could not remember making it and said the bill had been paid. However, on Saturday, Bosma used Twitter to describe the newspaper’s claims as “rubbish.” The PVV will not say where the money to pay the bill eventually came from. However, the Volkskrant said it has documented evidence that US anti-Islam campaigner Daniel Pipes has given Wilders over US $100,000 for legal expenses. Wilders will soon face a new trial on inciting hatred and discrimination charges after leading a crowd of supporters in an anti-Moroccan chant. His first trial finally ended in 2011 with a verdict of not guilty.