Buenos Aires Times

Queen Máxima's tax scandal adds to growing Dutch anger about wealth, privileges

Queen Máxima's 3,000-hectare Pilpilcura estate in Bariloche, which operates as a 4-star hotel, is reportedly not properly registered for tax purposes.

Sunday 3 February, 2019
Queen Máxima of the Netherlands.
Queen Máxima of the Netherlands. Foto:AFP

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The Dutch Royal Family and Queen Máxima, in particular, have found themselves enveloped in controversy recently, including with the Dutch parliament.

First it was the perceived excessive spending of public funds on the renovation of a castle. Now, an investigation by the Argentine news portal El cohete a la Luna has revealed Máxima's 3,000-hectare Pilpilcura estate, which operates as a 4-star hotel, is not properly registered for tax purposes.

The property is on the outskirts of Bariloche, in Argentina's south. The hotel is operated by María Marta Cerruti Carricat, Máxima's aunt and godmother. According to official records, the estate does not pay taxes. This has prompted the Dutch opposition to begin an investigation into the matter. Lawmaker Ate Kuiken from the Labor Party is leading the charge.

"We see the richest people in the world trying every which way they can to contribute as little as possible to our societies. Our Royal Family should not be among them, rather it should set a good example. I want an immediate statement from the prime minister about what is happening", Kuiken said.

The Royal Family was one step ahead, releasing its own statement.

"Queen Máxima of the Netherlands scrupulously respects the laws and tax regulations of Argentina", it said.

However, the statement seemed not to meet the standards of the Dutch opposition, which decided to open an investigation.

CASHING IN

In the midst of a scandal, Máxima has not altered her official schedule of events.

The Queen was seen at the Schunk Museum this week, opening an exhibition of Basquiat. Smiling, she participated in an official event at the Museum despite other national museums in the Netherlands complaining that the Royal Family had dishonestly auctioned off works by Rubens.

According to data from Sotheby's, the Dutch Royal Family did well at the auction. The price for the main piece, a drawing, was US$ 3 million. However, a private buyer set a final bid of US$ 8 million, a world record for a work by Rubens.

Another, by Rafael, sold for US$ 1 million and another 10 for less, but all above their base prices.

The Dutch Crown may have earned more, but the criticism from some sectors of Dutch society has only gotten louder.

Directors of several national museums expressed their dismay at the auction, suggesting the works should have been donated to the State instead. They cited the cultural heritage of the pieces and pointed to the previously respected tradition that museums be granted the opportunity to first determine if they can afford to purchase valuable works before they are sold elsewhere

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