Terrorist organisations are being funded by Dutch-based companies through VAT fraud, TV documentary series Zembla has claimed.

The programme said it had obtained a list of around 40 individuals and companies in the Netherlands who are being investigated by German prosecutors for tax evasion. The international firms are said to have traded in CO2 emissions certificates without paying VAT in several European countries. The Dutch authorities blocked CO2 fraud in 2009, but that had the side effect of enabling companies based elsewhere to launder billions of euros by routing their deals through the Netherlands.

German and Italian prosecutors said there were indications that some of the money had been passed on to terrorist organisations, but gave no specific details. Documents found in a cave in Pakistan that Osama bin Laden used as a hideout led investigators to a criminal network based in Italy that stole €1 billion through VAT fraud on CO2 certificates. Junior finance minister Eric Wiebes told Parliament earlier that he could not rule out the possibility that money raised through VAT fraud was being used to fund terrorism. He said the issue was worrying but added he did not ‘have a list’ of suspects.

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