The Belastindienst appears to be trying to get blood out of a stone with one set of people whilst allowing large scale tax avoiders and frauders to continue unchecked!
Monday, December 26, 2011
The Belastindienst appears to be trying to get blood out of a stone with one set of people whilst allowing large scale tax avoiders and frauders to continue unchecked!
Posted by John A Gregory at 10:45 AM
Monday, December 12, 2011
Whilst not being anti-Muslim, perhaps the security authorities in the West should use the Muslim fear/dread of pigs to their advantage! In buses, trains and aeroplanes etc, placing a pig bladder full of pig blood to fight against suicide bombers! Also herds of pigs could be left to roam in the grounds of western embassies in sensitive arab countries.
Obviously though, care would need to be taken so as not to offend the local population (if this were at all possible)!
Posted by John A Gregory at 11:00 AM
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
There is another bonus for users of this state-of-the-art rapid transport system: it is, in effect, free for the five million people of the Greek capital.
With no barriers to prevent free entry or exit to this impressive tube network, the good citizens of Athens are instead asked to 'validate' their tickets at honesty machines before boarding. Few bother.
This is not surprising: fiddling on a Herculean scale — from the owner of the smallest shop to the most powerful figures in business and politics — has become as much a part of Greek life as ouzo and olives.
Indeed, as well as not paying for their metro tickets, the people of Greece barely paid a penny of the underground’s £1.5 billion cost — a ‘sweetener’ from Brussels (and, therefore, the European taxpayer) to help the country put on an impressive 2004 Olympics free of the city’s notorious traffic jams.
The transport perks are not confined to the customers. Incredibly, the average salary on Greece ’s railways is £60,000, which includes cleaners and track workers - treble the earnings of the average private sector employee here.
The over ground rail network is as big a racket as the EU-funded underground. While its annual income is only £80?million from ticket sales, the wage bill is more than £500m a year — prompting one Greek politician to famously remark that it would be cheaper to put all the commuters into private taxis.
‘We have a railroad company which is bankrupt beyond comprehension,’ says Stefans Manos, a former Greek finance minister. ‘And yet, there isn’t a single private company in Greece with that kind of average pay.’
Significantly, since entering Europe as part of an ill-fated dream by politicians of creating a European super-state, the wage bill of the Greek public sector has doubled in a decade. At the same time, perks and fiddles reminiscent of Britain in the union-controlled 1970s have flourished.
Ridiculously, Greek pastry chefs, radio announcers, hairdressers and masseurs in steam baths are among more than 600 professions allowed to retire at 50 (with a state pension of 95 per cent of their last working year’s earnings) — on account of the ‘arduous and perilous’ nature of their work.
This week, it was reported that every family in Britain could face a £14,000 bill to pay for Greece ’s self-inflicted financial crisis. Such fears were denied yesterday after Brussels voted a massive new £100bn rescue package which, it insisted, would not need a contribution from Britain .
Even if this is true — and many British MPs have their doubts — we will still have to stump up £1billion to the bailout through the International Monetary Fund.
In return for this loan, European leaders want the Greeks’ free-spending ways to end immediately if the country is to be prevented from ‘infecting’ the world’s financial system. Naturally, the Greek people are not happy about this.
In Constitution Square this week, opposite the parliament, I witnessed thousands gathering to campaign against government cuts designed to save the country from bankruptcy.
After running battles with riot police, who used tear gas to disperse protesters, thousands are still camped out in the square ahead of a vote by Greek politicians next week on whether to accept Europe-imposed austerity measures.
Yet these protesters should direct their anger closer to home — to those Greeks who have for many years done their damndest to deny their country the dues they owe it.
Take a short trip on the metro to the city’s cooler northern suburbs, and you will find an enclave of staggering opulence.
Here, in the suburb of Kifissia, amid clean, tree-lined streets full of designer boutiques and car showrooms selling luxury marques such as Porsche and Ferrari, live some of the richest men and women in the world.
With its streets paved with marble, and dotted with charming parks and cafes, this suburb is home to shipping tycoons such as Spiros Latsis, a billionaire and friend of Prince Charles, as well as countless other wealthy industrialists and politicians.
One of the reasons they are so rich is that rather than paying millions in tax to the Greek state, as they rightfully should, many of these residents are living entirely tax-free.
Along street after street of opulent mansions and villas, surrounded by high walls and with their own pools, most of the millionaires living here are, officially, virtually paupers.
How so? Simple: they are allowed to state their own earnings for tax purposes, figures which are rarely challenged. And rich Greeks take full advantage.
Astonishingly, only 5,000 people in a country of 12 million admit to earning more than £90,000 a year — a salary that would not be enough to buy a garden shed in Kifissia.
Yet studies have shown that more than 60,000 Greek homes each have investments worth more than £1m, let alone unknown quantities in overseas banks, prompting one economist to describe Greece as a ‘poor country full of rich people’.
Manipulating a corrupt tax system, many of the residents simply say that they earn below the basic tax threshold of around £10,000 a year, even though they own boats, second homes on Greek islands and properties overseas.
And, should the taxman rumble this common ruse, it can be dealt with using a ‘fakelaki’ — an envelope stuffed with cash. There is even a semi-official rate for bribes: passing a false tax return requires a payment of up to 10,000 euros (the average Greek family is reckoned to pay out £2,000 a year in fakelaki.)
Even more incredibly, Greek shipping magnates — the king of kings among the wealthy of Kifissia — are automatically exempt from tax, supposedly on account of the great benefits they bring the country.
Yet the shipyards are empty; once employing 15,000, they now have less than 500 to service the once-mighty Greek shipping lines which, like the rest of the country, are in terminal decline.
With Greek President George Papandreou calling for a crackdown on these tax dodgers — who are believed to cost the economy as much as £40bn a year — he is now resorting to bizarre means to identify the cheats. After issuing warnings last year, government officials say he is set to deploy helicopter snoopers, along with scrutiny of Google Earth satellite pictures, to show who has a swimming pool in the northern suburbs — an indicator, officials say, of the owner’s wealth.
Officially, just over 300 Kifissia residents admitted to having a pool. The true figure is believed to be 20,000. There is even a boom in sales of tarpaulins to cover pools and make them invisible to the aerial tax inspectors.
‘The most popular and effective measure used by owners is to camouflage their pool with a khaki military mesh to make it look like natural undergrowth,’ says Vasilis Logothetis, director of a major swimming pool construction company. ‘That way, neither helicopters nor Google Earth can spot them.’
But faced with the threat of a crackdown, money is now pouring out of the country into overseas tax havens such as Liechtenstein , the Bahamas and Cyprus .
‘Other popular alternatives include setting up offshore companies in Cyprus or the British Virgin Islands , or the purchase of real estate abroad,’ says one doctor, who declares an income of less than £90,000 yet earns five times that amount.
There has also been a boom in London property purchases by Athens-based Greeks in an attempt to hide their true worth from their domestic tax authorities.
‘These anti-tax evasion measures by the government force us to resort to even more detailed tax evasion ploys,’ admits Petros Iliopoulos, a civil engineer.
Hotlines have been set up offering rewards for people who inform on tax dodgers. Last month, to show the government is serious, it named and shamed 68 high-earning doctors found guilty of tax evasion.
‘We will spare no effort to collect what is due to the state,’ said Evangelos Venizelos, the new Greek finance minister of the socialist ruling party. ‘We promise to draft and apply a new and honest tax system, one that has been needed for decades, so that taxes are duly paid by those who should pay.’
Yet, already, it is too late. Greece is effectively bust — relying on EU cash from richer northern European countries, but this has been the case ever since the country finally joined the euro in 2001.
Two years earlier, the country was barred from entering because it did not meet the financial criteria.
No matter: the Greeks simply cooked the books. Two years later, having falsely claimed to have met standards relating to manufacturing and industrial production and low inflation, the Greeks were allowed in.
Funds poured into the country from across Europe and the Greeks started spending like there was no tomorrow.
Money flowed into all areas of public life. As a result, for example, the Greek school system is now an over-staffed shambles, employing four times more teachers per pupil than Finland , the country with the highest-rated education system in Europe . ‘But we still have to pay for tutors for our two children,’ says Helena, an Athens mother. ‘The teachers are hopeless — they seem to spend their time off sick.’
Although Brussels has now agreed to provide the next stage of its debt payment programme to safeguard the country’s immediate economic future, the Greek media still carries ominous warnings that the military may be forced to step in should the country’s foray into Europe end in ignominy, bankruptcy and rising violence.
For now, the crisis has simply been delayed. With European taxpayers facing the prospect of saving Greece from bankruptcy for the second year in a row, some say even the £100bn on offer will pay off only the interest on the country’s debts — meaning it will be broke again within two years.
Meanwhile, there are doom-laden warnings that the collapse of the Greek economy could be the catalyst for another global recession.
Perhaps if the Greeks themselves had shown more willingness to tighten their belts and pay taxes due to the state, voters across Europe might not now be feeling such anger towards them.
But having strolled the streets of Kifissia, and watched the Greek hordes stream past the honesty boxes on the underground, it does not take a degree in European economics to know when somebody is taking advantage — at our expense.
As in other countries, why can't the Greek taxation authorities at least recover the taxation which should have been paid? Certainly in the UK, and the Netherlands, monies can be recovered which should have been paid years earlier!
The whole shambles is unfortunate for the Greek people who have paid their taxes! Just as always happens, honest hard-working people are penalized through no fault of their own!
Posted by John A Gregory at 5:11 PM
Monday, December 5, 2011
Protection of Camp Ashraf
We warn about massacre of 3,400 Iranian dissidents in Camp Ashraf (home of Iranian dissidents for over 25 years) in Iraq. Up to this point, Iraqi especial millitary forces under the command of Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki have killed 47 of these defenceless and unarmed refugees and injured about 1000 of others in two deadly assaults at the behest of the Iranian regime.
It is almost three years that this camp is under an inhumane siege which also deprives patients and wounded from access to medical treatment resulting in a number of them losing their lives. It is now close to two years that Ashraf residents are being psychologically tortured day and night by 300 loudspeakers and months ago.
While the UNHCR has declared Ashraf residents "asylum-seekers" who must enjoy international protection, Maliki and the Iraqi government has threatend to evacuate Camp Ashraf and forcibly transfer its residents to other locations in Iraq. Relocating residents of Ashraf inside Iraq, is a Crime against Humanity and is a prelude to a grand massacre that has been devised by the Iranian theocratic fascist rulers and the government of Iraq. Overwhelming evidence demonstrates that the Iranian regime and its elements in Iraq intend to bar the progress of UN projects, especially those of the UNHCR, by all possible means and thereby obstruct a peaceful resolution to justify another deadly millitary attack against defenceless, unarmed residents of Ashraf.
In such conditions, the initiative of EU High Representative, Baroness Ashton, to appoint Ambassador Jean Du Ruyt as the EU’s special representative for Ashraf is a very worthwhile and effective measure which has our strong support. We demand his prompt visit to Ashraf to make his efforts more operative in peacefully resolving this crisis.
We also request:
- The US, EU and UN to impel Iraq to categorically remove any forcible relocation of Ashraf residents inside Iraq from the agenda;
- The US, EU and UN to impel Iraq to remove the illegal and suppressive deadline of the clouser of Ashraf by the end of 2011, until the end of the UNHCR’s work and the transfer of all Ashraf residents to third countries;
- The UN Secretary General and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to station a permanent monitoring team in Ashraf and the protection of Ashraf residents with UN blue helmet forces, until the transfer of the last person to a third country should be facilitated and guaranteed by the UN Security Council.
- The US, EU and UN to impel Iraq to bring an end to the inhumane siege and psychological torture of the residents by means of 300 loudspeakers and to allow the residents to have free access to their lawyers and medical services.
Posted by John A Gregory at 5:36 PM
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Anybody experience bailiffs sending out fake court summonses as a threat? It seems to me that this es an abuse (even contempt) of the courts and legal system here in the Netherlands! Of course the judicial systems doesn't do anything as it doesn't appear to be fashionable here to do anything about "white collar" criminals!
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
The question is then, why should one pay (full) tax?
In this day and age, especially in the European Community with "free" movement of labour, especially with these countries claiming to be "democratic", surely something ought to be done about voting rights.
In my case, originally from the UK, I could vote in the British General Election, but only for 10 years. Living in Amsterdam, I can vote in the municipal elections, but not nationally while still having to pay full Dutch income tax. Strangely, I can vote in British European elections.
Doesn't seem quite right does it?
Shouldn't it be "no taxation without representation"?
Posted by John A Gregory at 3:52 PM
Saturday, November 26, 2011
I started this project more than ten years ago, initially to extend my Dutch vocabulary and also to test myself.
To enable this, I wrote 3 programs:-
Master - Allows entry and linking of words
List - A vocabulary list
Test - To test the user's vocabulary
Since the project began, additional languages were added. The current languages are English, Dutch, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Thai, Chinese, Hindi and Russian.
The list and test programs can be set up to contain any 2 combinations of the above languages.
The List and Test programs are a Shareware package costing €10 - free to use for a 30 day trial period.
The following packages are now available for all windows platforms:-
English <=> Dutch
English <=> German
English <=> French
English <=> Spanish
English <=> Italian
English <=> Portuguese
English <=> Chinese
English <=> Russian
English <=> Hindi
Dutch <=> German
Dutch <=> French
Dutch <=> Spanish
Dutch <=> Italian
Dutch <=> Portuguese
Dutch <=> Chinese
Dutch <=> Russian
Dutch <=> Hindi
German <=> French
German <=> Spanish
German <=> Italian
German <=> Portuguese
German <=> Chinese
German <=> Russian
German <=> Hindi
French <=> Spanish
French <=> Italian
French <=> Portuguese
French <=> Chinese
French <=> Russian
French <=> Hindi
Portuguese <=> Spanish
Portuguese <=> Italian
Portuguese <=> Chinese
Portuguese <=> Russian
Portuguese <=> Hindi
Spanish <=> Italian
Spanish <=> Chinese
Spanish <=> Russian
Spanish <=> Hindi
Italian <=> Chinese
Italian <=> Russian
Italian <=> Hindi
Thai <=> English
Thai <=> Dutch
Thai <=> German
Thai <=> French
Thai <=> Portuguese
Thai <=> Spanish
Thai <=> Italian
Thai <=> Chinese
Transliteration (to latin characters) is being worked on for the oriental languages, Thai and Chinese, and also Russian.
All packages are reversible - eg English<=>Russian can be configured to be Russian<=>English!
Within the Test program, there is the ability to test on sentences with missing words, but this is not yet publicly available as I only have a Dutch version.
These packages are available for download at JAGeZe - Language Learning Software
Most of the English language packages are also available to download on CNET and Brothersoft.
Posted by John A Gregory at 4:02 PM
Friday, November 25, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Anybody any experience/knowledge of a “builder” Joe “JoJo” McKeen (dob 23/03/57)? He was also known as “Snow White/Snieuw witje” - for obvious reasons. He appears to operate the companies Headingley Restorations, Complete Restoration, EnergySave NL, and maybe more.
He was active in Amsterdam for a couple of years, finally "doing a runner" in November 2010 after vandalising the interior of the top half of our house by throwing paint over most of the floors. It seems he was being sought by other people and authorities.
He moved into the top half of our house (a listed building, built in the 17th century) in Amsterdam August/September 2008 – he was about to become homeless so we offered him a place to stay in return for his working to get the place in a liveable condition. The first thing he did was to throw out the current occupant, a homeless man who we had allowed to stay, paying a token rent to cover expenses. He then went on to demolish a floor in the top half of the rear outbuilding disregarding any building regulations and necessary permits/permissions, even mine! During his stay, he carried out several "renovations" without even asking our permission! Almost all of the "work" he carried out was rejected as unfit by the local authorities!
When we eventually asked him to pay his share of the house expenses he took us to the local rent tribunal – somewhat hypocritical, as he wasn't paying any "rent" at all, even renting out his own house in Leeds, probably charging an exorbitant rent!
During his time in Amsterdam, he undertook several "projects", taking in tens of thousands of Euros seemingly without paying a cent of tax anywhere, or adhering to the local building regulations!
Posted by John A Gregory at 2:08 PM
Friday, November 18, 2011
I'm thinking of running a lottery to “sell” my house. The price of a ticket will be €100 and I will need to sell at least 10,000 so that the house can be renovated to a standard suitable for the prize winner, and to pay off the outstanding mortgage. If I was to tell you that the lottery tickets are to be numbered 000000 to 999999 and all possible numbers are entered into the draw even though only around 10,000 tickets had been sold, would you partake in this lottery? No, I don't think so!
Strangely, there is a lottery run by the state in the Netherlands, de Staatsloterij, which holds a monthly draw, issuing tickets with numbers in the format XX999999. A lot costs €15 and a 1/5 lot costs €3. There are several prize denominations, the lowest being less than the price of the ticket, the highest, the jackpot running into several millions. Of course the jackpot prize doesn't fall every month because, as you might already have surmised, all possible ticket combinations are entered into the draw, even the only a small percentage of this number have actually been sold! Of course to keep the punters happy, they force the jackpot to fall every few months.
Government fraud or what?
Posted by John A Gregory at 12:11 PM
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Is het niet vreemd dat er bij de huidige economische situatie met het hoge Europese werkloosheidscijfer nog steeds opvallend veel werknemers van buiten de EU erbinnen werkzaam zijn?
Natuurlijk zijn er in sommige vakgebieden niet genoeg EU mensen met voldoende ervaring en kwalificaties.
Het blijkt echter dat sommige, meestal internationale, bedrijven ook voor vakgebieden met voldoende EU reservoir liever de goedkope werknemers van buiten de EU aantrekken. Louter om geld te besparen, dus puur uit winstbejag! Uiteindelijk zal de werkloosheid in de EU door dit gedrag verder stijgen!Reeds een paar jaar geleden werd ik hiervan het slachtoffer!
Ik had op een IT vacature bij Elsevier in Amsterdam gesolliciteerd. Het sollicitatiegesprek verliep prima. Bij de uitslag zei men echter domweg dat er geen vacature meer was! Dus niet dat er in de vacature was voorzien door een hoger gekwalificeerde sollicitant. Later kwam mij ter ore dat Elsevier een Indiaër in dienst genomen had!
Uit welingelichte bron vernam ik dat er op de hoofdkantoor van Elsevier sindsdien opvallend veel zuid-Aziatische mensen rondlopen!
Is dit de bedoeling van het EU immigratiebeleid?
Monday, November 14, 2011
Isn't it strange that with the present economic climate and high unemployment in Europe, there are still a considerable number of migrant workers from outside the EU working in Europe. I appreciate that in some situations they are filling vacancies which couldn't otherwise be filled due to a Europe wide skills shortage in some industries/professions, it seems to me however, that some international companies are taking advantage in some countries and using these migrant workers at the cost of European workers, often paying these people substantially less!
I was a victim of this a couple of years ago! I was unemployed and via contacts I became aware of an IT vacancy at Elsevier in Amsterdam. I applied, went for an interview, which went really well, later being told the vacancy had been withdrawn for budgetary reasons. I found out that an Indian migrant had been given the position – strange, because I was well established in Amsterdam, speaking fluent Dutch. I've also since found out from an acquaintance that there are a considerable number of Indians and Bengalis currently being employed there. Whilst not being a racist, it would appear here that Elsevier aren't exactly playing fair!
Posted by John A Gregory at 7:47 PM
Monday, November 7, 2011
Friday, November 4, 2011
Could there be some sort of worldwide secret society active here? Certainly it's the "old boys network" and "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours"!
It does seem strange that company shareholders don't appear to have a say in the appointment of top, over payed executives!
Posted by John A Gregory at 4:55 PM
Thursday, November 3, 2011
- Why wasn't a referendum held in every participating country?
- Why weren't the strict entry conditions applied to countries joining?
- Why weren't the participating countries regularly checked for adherence to the conditions?
Posted by John A Gregory at 1:44 PM
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
What do you think?
Posted by John A Gregory at 11:25 AM
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Hoe kan het dat een bedrijf als bijvoorbeeld Hoogland Beheer BV, dat een aantal jaren geleden op de Bibop lijst stond, nu geschoond is doch nergens meer te bekennen valt, terwijl haar werkzaamheden onder een andere naam als bijvoorbeeld Vastland Beheer BV worden uitgevoerd?
Ik zie dat er nog steeds een bedrijf Hoogland Beheer BV is, maar dat heeft een andere eigenaar en doelen en heeft niks te maken met het bedrijf met hetzelfde naam van een aantal jaren geleden!
How is it that a blacklisted company, Hoogland Beheer BV, suddenly gets a new name, Vastland Beheer BV, and appears "squeaky-clean"?
Please note that a company Hoogland Beheer BV operates now, but has nothing to do with the same-named company from a few years ago!
Posted by John A Gregory at 3:49 PM
Bent u werkzoekend en heeft u een BKR registratie? Heeft u het gevoel dat een werkgever u heeft afgewezen omdat u die BKR registratie heeft?
Are you looking for a job and you've a BKR Bad credit rating)? Do you have the feeling that having the BKR has cost you the chance of a job?
Posted by John A Gregory at 3:47 PM
Friday, October 21, 2011
Imagine this, the location will be revealed later…
Mid 1997, I decided I would buy a property, having been a resident in the country for just over two years, having a permanent job, and having decided that a property purchase was better than renting.
I wasn’t really seriously looking, just trying to get an idea of property prices and researching the mortgage market – how much could be borrowed based on my income etc.
I mentioned to a friend that I was looking to buy a house and she retorted immediately that she was “house sitting” in a house that was for sale. I made an appointment the following week and went round to view the property. I fell in love with the place immediately and made an offer equating to €180,000. The house was built sometime in the first half of the 17th century and is a “listed building” – a building of national historical interest.
The house was split into two apartments, the upper one coming complete with an old lady who had lived there for more than forty years, paying just over the equivalent of €70 per month in rent! I never increased that rent.
Over time, the mortgage was increased to €405,000 to finance extras for the house, green investments etc. A lot of bad advice from so-called advisors and also naivety on my part. During the economic crisis towards the end of 2008, the base lending rate was decreased, but to my surprise, both banks increased their lending rates by at least 20%! Both banks even had to be bailed out by the national government!
I married a Thai woman in January 2002 and we now have two beautiful daughters aged four and eight.
Unbeknown to us, the horrors would start sometime around six years ago, starting with the death of the old lady in the top half of the house, followed by myself breaking a bone in my left hand, slipping in the snow on the step in front of our house (this stopped my DIY attempts in the house). The year following (April 2007) I broke my right ankle badly, thus stopping my DIY activity again. Our plans for the house were to eventually convert the two separate apartments into one spacious family house (over 4 floors and an attic too), finances and local planning authority allowing.
The city housing/building people called one day asking whether they could inspect the house. I said they could, but given their incompetence using even their own electronic spirit level, I wish I never had. When they came back and asked if they could investigate the house foundations by excavating in our bedroom (which is slightly below ground level), I was naïve and stupid enough to allow them to, thinking I was serving the community at large. The initial report from the city was amateurish and full of mistakes, followed by a second one which stated the foundations must be replaced, also those of the two neighbouring houses. It would seem that one of the wooden piles in the foundations had moved – my theory being that due to the uneven state of the street surface in front of the house, anything heavy coming along at speed, caused the house to “bounce”, somewhat similar to the effects of an earthquake (which I did experience in Costa Rica late 2004 – my first thoughts when woken at 03:00 by a 6-6.5 richter earthquake, was that I was back home!). The local council have now ordered me to pay the equivalent of €80,000 as a penalty for not having had the “repairs” carried out – this, while opposite our house, is a school annexe (containing several gymnasiums), the building appears to be in a terrible state, and an eyesore, thus demonstrating the inconsistency or even corruption of the local council. They have even told a neighbour who has just spent a fortune refurbishing his property that he can only charge a minimal rent for one of his apartments even though they have stuck a high taxation value on his property (and mine too), so that they can charge a high “council tax”. We have since learned that is now city policy (or fashion, until they come forward with another trend) that all wooden piles should eventually be replaced by steel ones, even though there is nothing wrong with the existing piles.
One Sunday lunchtime in July 2007, working on my computer with our youngest daughter (then 6 months) sat on my knee, I heard some banging and a disturbance outside. I went to the front door to investigate, and found a number of people holding our door shut by pulling on the grills, a couple of hundred people in the street and several people breaking down the door to the top half of our house. I called the police who arrived around 15 minutes later, but too late to prevent the people breaking into our property. The police went into the top half of the house and decided the squatters could stay, even though people had lived there for several weeks after the old lady died. The squatters, mainly Polish, stayed for just over 4 months, terrorizing us on an almost daily basis. Due to political control of the police by the city’s mayor, the police couldn’t/wouldn’t do much to help us, even though the vast majority wanted to – a small minority did seem to sympathize with the squatters though. We eventually got the squatters to leave ourselves with much help from friends, neighbours and some local politicians! Seemingly it is legal here, in this country, to hold people hostage, break into a persons’ property, hold people hostage, steal their possessions and terrorize them? The law regarding squatting has now been changed here but some representatives of the left-wing local authorities throughout the country are refusing to implement it! As a result of what happened to us, the law of the land was changed making squatting illegal, though some of the bigger cities won’t enforce this new law!
Once rid of the squatters, a homeless man, a friend of a neighbour moved in, and was over the moon, having a place he could call home instead of being shifted from pillar to post sometimes on a daily basis just to lay down in some comfort for the night, paying the equivalent of €200 per month to us to cover costs.
In July 2008, a Scotsman who had been working on a “renovation” in the neighbourhood during our squatter woes, and who we naively became acquainted with, was about to become homeless so we offered to accommodate him and his brother the top half of our house together with the current occupant. As we had no money ourselves to renovate the top floors, we suggested that, since the persons in question are builders, in return for the accommodation, we just asked that they repair the top apartment to a liveable state – the squatters had left a mess, together with years of neglect due to the prior occupant’s refusal to allow entry to carry out repairs. The Scotsman promptly threw the homeless man out of the house and then began with his unrequited and unauthorized “renovations” – he went through the place like a bull in a china shop. He had the kitchen ceiling and beams (the floor to a storage area above, that I had envisaged as a future bathroom) removed – illegal as the house is a “listed building” and special permission is needed to carry out structural changes. The roof was repaired, the electrics replaced, a bath, shower and toilet fitted (in a bedroom), and a new kitchen fitted – all without any consultation with us – all the “repairs” were rejected by the local council building department – they have ordered him to “undo” what he has “done”, but so far hasn’t complied. He even fitted a satellite dish on the roof at the front of the house – also without permission. All of this was done without any permission on my behalf, not even with any consultation. I was denied even access to the apartment. This was considerably more than my idea of repairing the place to be up to liveable standards. Basically, he did everything to suite his own tastes and requirements, never even consulting us. He even fitted a satellite dish on the roof at the front of the house, without even asking permission (also bearing in mind that the house is of historical interest). He often moved family members, girlfriend and a number of visitors in and out as it suited him, often charging them rent! He never gave us a penny as, of course, the costs of the “repairs” would be covered by the accommodation provided. He even had the nerve to complain to the “rent commission” about an unfair increase in rent, when we requested that he paid a fair share of the costs – mortgage, water, sewage, local government taxes etc! The hypocrite (the Scotsman) even owns and rents out a house in his own country, probably charging a ludicrous rent! He pays little or no tax anywhere in the world, pays no health insurance, and drives a foreign registered car around, which is against the rules in this country, where he is registered as a resident – the authorities don’t appear to be interested in any of this!
In August 2008, I changed jobs, and went to work for an international company, working as a consultant for both clients and on internal projects. With hindsight, a bad move, the worldwide economic crisis started and I was made redundant within a year of starting, and ended up being unemployed for almost 8 months. More than a hundred people were finished, a major culprit to the company’s woes was the fact that a major international bank based here just tore up its contract, thus finishing a considerable number of consultants! Of course the company’s (and bank’s) top men continued to draw their mega salaries and bonuses!
In April 2010, we decided to offer the inhabitant of the top half of our house a rental contract, which he refused, presenting us with an extortionate bill of €27,000 for his “renovation”. We decided to withdraw the offer, and since June 1st 2010 he was a squatter! I have tried to file complaints against the Scotsman’s squatting, criminal damage to the house (removal of a floor etc) and even death threats, to the local police. One thing in particular that I think is horrendous, is that the police refused to accept any of my complaints even though I felt and feel threatened. This, to them was not serious or whatever?
Significant in all of this, is, where I, as the owner of the building, am being confronted with an €80,000 penalty for not following up on their demands, this same local authority’s building and housing department have refused to endorse their claim that the work done in the top apartment by the Scotsman, be returned to its original state! So far, they have done nothing to ensure that their instructions are carried out!
At the end of September 2010, the day before the new squatting law (1st October) came into effect, the Scotsman left, apparently in panic according to a few of the neighbours. After 2 weeks, he hadn’t returned, so we assumed he had “done a runner” and had left for good, and thus changed the locks on the front door. The apartment was in a terrible state, filth and grease all over the place and the attic full of junk. We proceeded to bag up the Scotsman’s junk, in preparation for us to move our things from the ground floor so that the foundation work could be carried out.
Imagine our surprise when the local Police called us 25th October 2010, threatening to arrest me and/or break down the door to the top half of our house so that the Scots squatter could resume his illegal residence! A woman neighbour was also of some assistance to the squatter too – bored holes in the shared wall without permission.
When the squatter eventually ran away (seemingly other victims after his blood) in November 2010, he caused considerable damage in the house, including vandalism – throwing paint over almost every floor! I tried to file a complaint with the local police, but this was of course refused! One reason given was that some of it was a civil matter!
It seems there is one set or rules and laws for the law-abiding citizen and another set for the criminal!
This same country runs a monthly “lottery” to supplement its taxation income (it should really be called a raffle or tombola). Punters can buy a ticket (or 1/5 of a ticket, to win 1/5 of a prize) where the minimum prize doesn’t even cover the cost of the ticket. The “jackpot” isn’t won every month, as the authority running the “lottery” enters unsold tickets into the draw – the fraud here is illustrated when every few months, the “jackpot” is guaranteed to fall! But, it gets worse, because, if the winning ticket is a 1/5 ticket, only 1/5 of the prize is paid, the authorities pocketing the remaining 4/5 – they don’t currently sell 5 1/5 tickets with the same numbers! They are now so proud that the “problem” has been fixed – seemingly fraud is ok.
A Greek company administers this lottery along with another national lottery. I had the misfortune to work for this company – I was promised a permanent contract, but instead got a 6 month contract followed by another one, and then was thrown out because the budget was used up! In my time there, a Greek employee never left the company involuntarily, while other nationalities did – an indication of discrimination and nepotism? Perhaps an indicator of the current woes in Greece? Also, every month, once all the takings from each lottery are in the company's bank account, they transfer some 60 million plus overseas until the prizes and takings need to be paid out!
And the latest trick from the national government so that they can control the lotteries, and taxation from – residents of the country aren't allowed to play lotteries outside the country. I thought that in the free world, monopolies were outlawed, and free trade ruled!
Consider a bailiff issuing a final demand for a payment, followed by a court summons which turned out to be fake! Eventually there was a court sitting where the bailiff was reprimanded, but not penalized! Justice?
And finally, the location – a banana republic somewhere in South America, Africa, or the old Eastern Block?
No! Surprise, surprise, the country is the Netherlands, the city Amsterdam (maybe it should be renamed to Amstelgrad or Stalindam?) and the then mayor Job Cohen (who now wants to be the country’s PM), the banks are ING and HDV (part of ABN-AMRO), the company British Telecom and the Scots cowboy/rogue builder and “squatter” (a complaint against squatting was filed and eventually accepted by the police) Joseph McKeen (his “companies” include Headingly Restorations, Complete Restorations and EnergySave NL – maybe there are more), the neighbour is Anne Bosscher (seems she can do what she wants with her building while the rest of us have to ask permission), the lottery is the Staatsloterij, the police – Politie Lijnbaansgracht, Amsterdam, the bailiff GGN!
It seems that it's a case of who you know, which club you're in, and maybe even your nationality/ethnicity here!
Shame on them all!
Thanks to some neighbours, the VVD, one member of the local PvdA, and the Amsterdam “krakers spreekuur”, who helped considerably during our living-hell with the squatters. A majority of the police also tried to help even considering that their “hand were tied” - politics seems to play its part here as well as some of the higher ranking officers playing “judge, jury and executioner”!
Posted by John A Gregory at 4:32 PM
Posted by John A Gregory at 1:13 PM