BRUSSELS – Geert Wilders, leader of Holland’s far-right anti-Muslim Party of Freedom, was investigated in the past by the country’s General Intelligence and Security Service (AVID) over his “ties to Israel and their possible influence on his loyalty.”
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Wilders, whose party is leading the polls ahead of the upcoming election in March, is likely to be a key figure in the next government.
The undercover investigation was exposed over the weekend by the veteran daily De Volkskrant. According to the article, AVID agents conducted the investigation from 2009 to 2010, with its existence and results remaining unknown until now. The Dutch central intelligence organization is in charge of safeguarding internal national security, handling non-military dangers to the country and preventing espionage.
An investigation of this kind into an active politician is an exceptional occurrence in Holland, the newspaper noted. If conducted, it is only in cases in which there are very reasonable grounds for suspicion. Wilders was a member of parliament at the time, with his party supporting the right-center coalition government from the outside and enabling it to remain in power.
The reason for the investigation, according to the newspaper, was concern in the Dutch security service about “the possibility that Geert Wilders is influenced by Israeli factors,” with whom he had close ties. He visited Israel at the end of 2008, meeting with “Gen. Amos Gilad in his office in the main military headquarters in Tel Aviv, and regularly attended meetings with Israel’s ambassador to Holland at the time,” according to De Volkskrant.
The reporters discovered the story during the course of a comprehensive investigation into the tight security protection that the country provided to the leader of the far right. For the purpose of that article they interviewed 37 civil servants, former secret agents, security guards etc.
Both the security services and Wilders declined to comment on the report.