AMSTERDAM Feb 19 The former chief executive of
SNS Reaal, the Dutch financial group rescued by the state
earlier this month, has left the country and gone into hiding
after receiving "serious threats", Dutch TV reported on Monday
night, citing unnamed sources.
Sjoerd van Keulen, who ran SNS Reaal from 2002 to 2009, has
been widely criticised by politicians and members of the public,
and has already stepped down as head of the country's top
financial lobby group, and from other senior positions.
Reuters was unable to confirm whether he had left the
Netherlands, after contacting local police and Dutch
counter-terrorism agency NCTV. Neither van Keulen nor his family
could immediately be reached for comment.
Dutch news programme RTL Nieuws did not give details about
the source or nature of the alleged threats.
A spokesman for the NCTV said: "We have been informed that
there have been threats against Mr. Van Keulen. That is all. He
is a civilian just like everybody else, and it's local
The government nationalised SNS Reaal on Feb. 1 in a
10-billion-euro ($13.5 billion) rescue because of continuing
losses at the bank's property finance operations.
Dutch authorities last week detained two former employees of
SNS Reaal, including the former head of SNS Property Finance, on
suspicion of bribery, fraud and money laundering.
Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem's decision to
nationalise SNS Reaal sparked a public outcry because of the
cost to taxpayers. Subordinated bondholders and shareholders
have said they will fight the nationalisation.
Van Keulen was advised to stay away for at least a few
weeks, RTL Nieuws said, without specifying who had advised him.
Following SNS Reaal's nationalisation, a photograph of Van
Keulen's home was published in the Netherlands' largest
circulation newspaper, De Telegraaf, and a TV journalist urged
the public to press Van Keulen to pay back his bonuses.
Two weeks ago, Dijsselbloem called on Van Keulen to step
down as head of Holland Financial Centre (HFC), a lobby group
for the financial sector. Within hours, he had quit.
Van Keulen did not immediately reply when asked for comment
via network website LinkedIn. Calls to a mobile phone registered
at the address identified by Dutch media as his home were
unanswered. SNS Reaal and HFC declined to comment.
(Reporting by Gilbert Kreijger; Editing by Mark Potter)