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Vestia Derivatives Fraud Probe Expanded by Dutch Prosecutor

The Dutch public prosecutor expanded its probe of possible fraud linked to derivatives used by Stichting Vestia Groep after a financial official at the housing organization was arrested last week.

“Besides the two suspects mentioned before, there are several other suspects in the investigation,” Esther Schreur, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor, said today by telephone. She declined to specify the exact number of people or their identities.

Vestia is the subject of several probes after it needed 1.6 billion euros ($2.1 billion) of government-guaranteed loans to make payments stemming from margin calls on interest-rate swap contracts with several banks. The organization is also conducting its own forensic investigation, according to spokesman Ronald Florisson.

The prosecutor said on April 14 it was investigating transfers between an intermediary and a financial official at Vestia for possible bribery, tax fraud and money laundering in relation to derivatives used by the housing organization. One of the suspects was arrested on April 13. That person is Vestia’s treasurer, Marcel de Vries, said two people with knowledge of the situation who declined to be identified as the investigation is still pending.

None of the other suspects have been arrested, Schreur said. At this point banks involved in the derivative contracts and Vestia’s former management-board Chairman Erik Staal are not among the suspects, she said.

Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported on the widening of the probe earlier today.

De Vries didn’t respond to an e-mail from Bloomberg News seeking comment on the matter. A phone call to a number mentioned in his out of office reply wasn’t answered.

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