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Amsterdam vs. the ‘Kosher Mafia’

The City of Amsterdam has announced its intention to make good on its promise to clean up not just the Red Light District, but also the surrounding areas, including Damrak — the so-called ‘Red Carpet’ into town.

To this end, the City will use research performed under the BIBOB Act to investigate whether it can refuse to renew the operating licenses of the controversial Israeli families Barazani and Barzilai. The families, often referred to as the ‘kosher mafia,’ operate a number of hotels and restaurants at Damrak.

Dutch administrative authorities may refuse contracts, subsidies or permits for organizations and companies if they have serious doubts about the integrity of the relevant applicant.

Evidence of money-laundering, contacts with criminals, or — controversially — the strong suspicion that a certain business is being used for criminal objectives, as determined by the BIBOB Bureau of the Ministry of Justice, is usually enough to put someone out of business.


Damrak, Amsterdam

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A spokesperson for the City has confirmed that already four permits have been withdrawn, with the possibility that more are to follow.

According to Amsterdam daily Het Parool, the City does not want to say which hotels and restaurants are being targeted. However, the paper reports City Hall wants to withdraw the permit for Italian restaurant Silicio, at Damrak 57. Other businesses the City wants to close are, possibly, the Delta Hotel at Damrak 42-43 (related to Silicio), Hotel Keizerhof at Damrak 49, and Hotel Korenaer at Damrak 50-51.

The Barazani’s and Barzilais have till mid-June to appeal the decision.

Het Parool says the Barazani’s and Barzilais are in fact one family, with two versions of the family name.

In 2004, the National State Tax Department/Fiscal Intelligence and Information Department (Fiod) started an extensive investigation into the family on suspicion of money laundering. At the end of that year, the Justice Department raided among others the Delta Hotel and De Korenaer. The investigation continues to date.

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This post was last updated: Sep. 25, 2011