The Dutch citizen Ben van Wijhe has repeatedly explained in social media posts that he paid for Jonathan van der Linden’s attorney, Mr Aldo Verbruggen. Interestingly, court documents show that Mr. Van Wijhe declared bancruptcy in 2012, after many years of mismanagement of his companies.
In a bankrupcty report dated 21st March 2012 for the company Vantage Vision B.V, for which Van Wijhe was the Director and owner, the official report states in section 7.5 (rougly translated to English): “…there is a question of director’s liability. This has already been communicated to Mr. Van Wijhe. No annual accounts have been prepared after 2005. There are no bank statements at all, so that cash flows are not transparent or can be audited. This also makes it unclear to whom how much has been paid. There is no creditor’s or debitor’s ledger, there is no purchase ledger and so on. As a result, nothing can be checked or traced. The question is whether it makes sense to address Mr. Van Wijhe personally. He has personally filed for bankruptcy in February 2012. The court in Zupthen rejected this. An appeal is still pending.“
Other official records show that Mr. Van Wijhe has throughout the period from 2012 until this date repeatedly declared that he has no income or assets. He owes at least 1.5 million euros in taxes. At the same time, news articles and information available on social media, including his own posts, show him living a life in a luxury most people can only dream of. Mr. Van Wijhe drives the most expensive cars, stays at the most expensive hotels and travels the world in first class. He has also confirmed that he is the one paying for Jonathan van der Linden’s lawyer Aldo Verbruggen.
It is strange that Ben Van Wijhe openly boasts about his luxury life, and even more strange that he openly confirms that he has paid Mr. Verbruggen as Jonathan van der Linden’s lawyer. What this means is that Van Wijhe must have access to funds that he has hidden from tax authorities and creditors. This is, in fact, a serious crime in the Netherlands.
Granted, being chased after by creditors, tax office and angry investors is not a new situation for Mr. Van Wijhe. He seems to have a long history of using the shareholder’s money as his own personal funds.
An article by the reporters Martijn de Meulder and Nico van Wijk makes interesting reading. After purchasing the rights to the brand Commodore, Mr. Van Wijhe and his business partners started living like rock stars. According to the article, the entire management got BMW 760’s, some of them with personal drivers. According to his business partner, Van Wijhe did not want to involve American investors, since this might lead to people starting to look into his accounts. Instead, he found his investors among his circle in Amsterdam cafes such as ‘t Kalfje, Lexington and Sophia. Of course, running away with his investor’s money is not a good strategy when your investors have names like Rini Huis in ‘t Veld, a close friend of Willem Holleeder, one of the most dangerous criminals in the Netherlands. According to some reports, Mr. Van Wijhe had to look over his shoulder for years after things went south, and speculations have flourished that he after some time made a “deal with the devil”. The list of Van Wijhe’s partners reads like a who’s who of well known scammers, fraudsters and white collar criminals. Here, we find Arie Hommel, a well known fraudster from the Text Lite affair, as well as Text Lite’s co-founder, Rob Dresselhuis. Remco Voortman, from the Palm Invest scheme is also on the list, as well as Danny Klomp.
From multiple articles in the magazine Quote, it seems that the closest partner of Ben van Wijhe is the businessman Henk Keilman. Mr. Keilman was allegedly involved in attempts to illegaly sell military weapon systems. During his hearing in the case, he claimed that he only got an offer from a business partner. This business partner was subsequently found killed in a hotel room in Israel. Whether Mr. Keilman was really involved or not, I believe there’s sufficient grounds for saying that Mr. van Wijhe has some partners that he would really not want to piss off. Even more so, considering the fact that Mr. Van Wijhe also has possible links to another businessman with alleged connetions to the underworld, Heiko Endstra. Mr. Endstra supposedly has close connections to Thomas Wuchenauer, one of the scariest enforcers in the Dutch criminal world.
Ben van Wijhe’s business model after the Commodore fiasco, seems to be to buy minor companies which are listed on the smaller stock exchanges. He then dresses up the balance sheet, lures naive investors to buy in, takes their money, and spends it on huge salaries and benefits for the owners and management. After a while, the company is more or less out of cash, and ends up as an empty shell. Then. the cycle starts again with a new company. Recently, Mr. Van Wijhe is said to have landed in the crosshairs of financial investigators both in the Netherlands and the USA. Consequently, most of his business is now found in Asia. On the list of companies involved in his schemes are Mitex Group, Asiarim, Niaga Holding and Millennium Investments.
More on Ben van Wijhes “businesses” and his connections to different parts of the world will follow later.