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City of Amsterdam closes businesses on suspicion of money laundering

DutchAmsterdam.nl — The municipality of Amsterdam has taken an important step in its fight against the degradation of Damrak. It is withdrawing the operating permits of restaurants and hotels belonging to the controversial Barazani family.

Damrak is the street that runs from Central Station to Dam Square — usually the first street tourists see when they enter the city.

As part of Coalition Project 1012, described as a “large-scale and drastic change in function of the entrance to the capital city,” Amsterdam wants to transform Damrak into the city’s red carpet.

Business man Asaf Barazani forms an obstacle to the clean-up project, which is named after downtown Amsterdam’s postal code. Barazani and his family own some fifteen buildings along Damrak. Often referred to by locals as the ‘kosher mafia,’ the Israeli family operates a number of hotels and restaurants.

Four of these businesses have now been given notice that they will loose their operating licences, because the Barazani family will not pass the BIBOB screening.

This effectively means the businesses — the Delta Hotel, Hotel De Korenaer, Hotel Keizerhof (also called Hotel Damrak), and Italian restaurant Silicio — will have to close down

BIBOB screening

BIBOB stands for the ‘Act for the Promotion of Integrity Evaluations by Public Government’ (in Dutch: Wet Bevordering Integriteitsbeoordelingen door het Openbaar Bestuur ).

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.

The law went into effect on June 1, 2003. Its object is to promote the screening of the criminal antecedents of applicants for licences, subsidies, and/or tenders, thus preventing the government from unintentionally facilitating new criminal activities, such as money laundering.

In addition to relying on their own inquiries, authorities use the BIBOB Bureau of the Ministry of Justice to seek further advice on the applicant requesting the service.

Bomb attacks

In 2004 the Justice Department raided the Barazani family on suspicion of money laundering.

In what authorities view as warnings to Barazani, in recent months criminals in Israel have performed bomb attacks against business interests of Admon Barzilai, Asaf Barazani’s brother. It is believed that Barazani owes money to the crime syndicate Ramat Amidar.

Barazani’s wife, Cisca, says the BIBOB decision will be appealed in a court of law.

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Last updated CET (Central European Time)

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