- Category: News
- Created on Tuesday, 15 May 2012 17:13
- Written by Amsterdam Herald
A statement by Moszkowicz Advocaten said it had parted company with Bram Moszkowicz because he had ‘other work commitments outside advocacy’.
However, news magazine Vrij Nederland quoted a source as saying the Maastricht branch of the family had become concerned that the firm could become caught up in Bram Moszkowicz’s long-running struggles with the Dutch tax authorities.
In April 2010 tax officals took out a €1 million mortgage on the offices of Moszkowicz Advocaten on Herengracht in Amsterdam as a security against the 51-year-old’s outstanding tax bill.
Last year the 51-year-old was fined and ordered to pay a surcharge after it emerged he had failed to pay more than €1 million in tax between 2003 and 2006.
A second mortgage was taken out on the Amsterdam offices earlier this year, increasing the firm’s potential exposure to Moszkowicz’s personal liabilities. According to Vrij Nederland these concerns led to the other Moszkowicz brothers, Max and David, parting company with Bram.
Max Moszkowicz told the magazine there was no connection between Bram’s financial difficulties and the decision to dissolve the brothers’ professional partnership.
Bram Moszkowicz is one of the most colourful and high-profile figures in the Dutch legal profession. He secured the acquittal of Geert Wilders in June last year after the Freedom Party (PVV) leader was put on trial for allegedly inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims.
Previously he spent 20 years defending Amsterdam’s most notorious gangster, Willem Holleeder, whose exploits were the basis of the film De Heineken Ontvoering (The Heineken Kidnapping).
In 2007 he went to court seeking an injunction against a magazine editor who described Moszkowicz and Holleeder as ‘mafia buddies’, but lost the case. The president of the Amsterdam court said: ‘The term maffiamaatje and the contention that Mr Moszkowicz has friendly relations with the underworld are certainly insulting and extremely damaging for a lawyer, but there is sufficient support for them in the factual material available.’
Moszkowicz also represented the president and former military dictator of Surinam, Desi Bouterse, and attracted criticism after the two men were filmed dancing together in a hotel in Paramaribo.
More recently Moszkowicz has been censured three times by the Dutch Faculty of Advocates (Orde van Advocaten), which has also been investigating his legal practice.
In a disciplinary judgment last October, the faculty said he had ‘fallen seriously short in his duty of care’ towards a client who complained of professional negligence.
It said: ‘Moszkowicz’ way of doing business is a serious breach of the trust that the public ought to be able to have in advocacy as a professional group.’