Joop den Uyl biography reveals Northrop bribe of Prince Bernhard

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Prince Bernhard in 1999.
Image: Sander Lamme.

The late Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands was in the 1970s not only bribed by U.S. aircraft company Lockheed, but also by Northrop. This is revealed in Volkskrant-journalist Anet Bleich's biography of former Dutch Prime Minister Joop den Uyl. Den Uyl decided to keep the Northrop bribe quiet to save the Dutch Monarchy another scandal similar to the Lockheed scandal, Bleich states.

Den Uyl covered up the Northrop bribe in 1976 to prevent a law suit against the prince, which could have led to an abdication of Queen Juliana, and a denial of Princess Beatrix to succeed her mother on the throne. During the investigations on the bribe cases Minister of Finance Wim Duisenberg (who would later be the first president of the European Central Bank) visited Beatrix, and "found her quite desperate. Se had the idea that this opened a sewer of which the stench was unbearable. She was the future queen, but started to doubt whether she should do that, and that would have caused a major crisis in the Netherlands".

The Lockheed scandal was never brought to court, although it had consequences for the Prince: he was forced to resign all his military functions. A second scandal would have resulted in official law suit, with all the consequences thereafter.

Rumours that Prince Bernhard not only received US$1.1 million from Lockheed, but also a considerable amount from another competitor for securing the purchase contract for fighter jets, are now confirmed. Northrop paid a total amount of US$750,000 to the Prince in the period until 1973. Bleich bases her conclusions on a secret document that was kept in Den Uyl's personal archives until this day.

Northrop merged with Grumman in 1994 to form Northrop Grumman. Similarly, Lockheed merged with Martin Marietta in 1995, creating Lockheed Martin. On 30 April 1980 Beatrix succeeded her mother to the Dutch throne. Joop den Uyl died on December 24; 1987, Prince Bernhard on December 1, 2004.


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