On Saturday 29 August 2020, the website Follow The Money (FTM) published an article with the headline ‘’Property investor gambled in a scammers’ hall of mirrors’’. Diman BV and Dirk-Jan Bakker were mentioned several times in this article. The entire article appears to have been written with the objective of damaging Mr Bakker. Without attributing any concrete wrongdoing to Mr Bakker, it still portrays him in a shady and negative light. FTM has allowed itself to be used by a publicist and investor, who was convicted in Canada and runs an online platform, where he mentions Mr Bakker on a regular basis.
In early August, Mr Bakker was approached by FTM with all kinds of tendentious and insinuating questions. Mr Bakker has also repeatedly been linked to criminal activities by journalist Siem Eikelenboom of FTM. In fact, it even went so far as to name Bakker as the banker of the Moroccan mafia. Despite these accusations having no basis whatsoever, Mr Bakker decided, together with his counsel Jan ter Horst, to have a meeting with FTM, with the aim of clearing the air regarding the alleged wrongdoing and providing access to the original background documentation.
On Monday 10 August, Bakker and Ter Horst spoke with Messrs Siem Eikelenboom and Eric Smit from FTM. In this meeting, they were completely transparent and provided insight into a series of documents in which FTM could read that there was no case of any wrongdoing. During this meeting, it was also agreed that Mr Bakker would be allowed to review the entire article for factual inaccuracies in the event it was to be published.
It became clear during the meeting that FTM was predominantly using one unreliable source. In the past, this person wanted Bakker to cooperate in filing a complaint against the company, but Mr Bakker refused to do so. The person in question has been convicted of and has ties to criminal activity. Since there was clearly close contact between FTM and an unreliable and convicted source, Mr Bakker decided during the meeting to provide insight into confidential documents, but not to hand them over. FTM was offered the opportunity of coming to review or study the documents at any time of their choosing. FTM did not make use of this opportunity.
Although the meeting was positive, FTM has continued to repeatedly send out new insinuating questions over the past few weeks. It was clear that these questions were still largely based on information from the same unreliable source. Despite repeated requests from Bakker and Ter Horst, FTM refused to provide any access to the sources and documents that FTM claimed to have. FTM did also not deliver on its promise to allow the entire article to be checked for factual inaccuracies. Mr Bakker finds this highly objectionable and deeply regrets this. His views are absolutely not reflected in the reporting.