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Former SNS Property Board Member Groenhof Said to Be Arrested

Buck Groenhof, former board member at SNS Reaal NV’s failed property unit, and an assistant were arrested by Dutch prosecutors for possible bribery, fraud and money laundering, said two people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak publicly.

The Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service searched the homes and an office of two suspects that were arrested yesterday, the Dutch Public Prosecutor said in a statement on its website today. Esther Schreur, spokeswoman for the prosecutors’ office in The Hague, declined to identify them.

Groenhof didn’t respond to an e-mail and voice-mail to his mobile phone and his lawyer Jerry Hoff couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Groenhof resigned from the board of SNS Property Finance on Oct. 1, the company said in November.

The Dutch government took control of SNS Reaal on Feb. 1 after losses brought the company to the brink of collapse. The state will inject 2.2 billion euros of capital, write down 800 million euros on an earlier aid package and use 700 million euros to put the real estate portfolio at arm’s length.

Dutch newspapers including NRC Handelsblad reported Groenhof’s arrest earlier today.

The two suspects can be held in custody for three days and prosecutors may ask for an extension, Schreur said.

SNS Reaal said it filed charges against a former board member of its property finance unit after an internal probe into possible conflicts of interest initiated last year. It didn’t identify the ex-employee. Several externally-hired people were suspended, the Utrecht, Netherlands-based firm said in a statement today.

In November, the company denied a newspaper report that Groenhof allegedly used the bank for personal benefit, saying an internal probe found there were no grounds for the allegations.

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