A top official at the Ministry of Health (VWS) was aware that Sywert van Lienden had lied about his collaboration with KLM for an airlift with China for flying face masks.

The airline in reality had no partnership with the entrepreneur, but Van Lienden and his partners did claim during negotiations.

KLM and the relevant top official confirm this to

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on Wednesday


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Last March, the Landelijk Consortium Hulpmiddelen (LCH) started an air connection with KLM between China and the Netherlands.

That cooperation would be used exclusively for the government.

KLM tells


that Van Lienden and the Auxiliary Forces Foundation had also been informed that the airline would only fly for the government.

"After that, there was no more contact and everything went through LCH," said a KLM spokesperson.

According to VWS official Mark Frequin, who was responsible for the cooperation with LCH at the ministry, Van Lienden and his companions used the so-called agreement with KLM during every presentation.

Two other sources who




confirm this.

Van Lienden himself did not want to respond to questions from the site.

Despite the fact that the top was aware of the false claim, the ministry nevertheless joined forces with Van Lienden because it was afraid that LCH and the Auxiliary Troops (van Van Lienden) foundation would bid against each other.


Former Minister van Rijn thought at the time that Van Lienden was acting without profit motive, because he and his partners, as private persons, had signed a covenant of the LCH in which they promised this.

However, the deal went to the entrepreneurs' Relief Good Alliance, which did not sign the agreement.

Van Lienden and his business partners eventually concluded an agreement with which they received more than 100 million euros in tax money for about 40 million face masks that were never used.

Van Lienden was left with more than 9 million, his two partners about 5 million.

The full amount was advanced by the government.

The deal still causes a lot of fuss in The Hague. On Tuesday, the House of Representatives adopted a motion asking Van Lienden and his business partners Bernd Damme and Camille van Gestel to return the money they earned with the face mask deal. According to DENK leader Farid Azarkan, the three have "enriched themselves on real grounds". The House does not want to enforce the refund for the time being.