BANGKOK – The Netherlands Justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus is traveling to Thailand this week for talks on the repatriation of a coffee shop owner who was sentenced to 103 years in jail.
The Justice minister said he will meet Thai prime minister and the justice minister on Friday to discuss the case of the Dutchman. He gave no more details because of the ‘diplomatic nature of the visit.
Earlier this year, MPs called on the government to do its best to bring Johan van Laarhoven and his wife back to the Netherlands. After criticism by the national ombudsman over the governments bungling over his arrest.
Van Laarhoven, who ran several cannabis cafes, or coffee shops, in Tilburg and Den Bosch moved to Thailand since 2008.
Thailand Arrested the Dutchman for Money Laundering in 2014
In 2014 he was arrested by the Thai authorities and jailed for money laundering, even though the offences took place in the Netherlands.
Thai justice officials reportedly started investigating Van Laarhoven following a letter from a Dutch public prosecution department official. Informing the authorities he had earned his money selling marijuana and requesting help in a criminal investigation.
Although the alleged activities had taken place in the Netherlands. The Dutchman was arrested and then sentenced to 103 years in jail, later reduced to 75 on appeal. His Thai wife was also jailed.
In March, national ombudsman said Dutch officials were careless in their approach to the Thai authorities. Particularly in the case of Van Laarhoven’s wife who was not under investigation in the Netherlands.
In the meantime, the Dutch public prosecution department has agreed to settle the case against Van Laarhoven for €20m.