Former Piranha treasurer embezzles association’s money

| Jelle Posthuma , Stan Waning

A former treasurer of the Piranha swimming association transferred 20,000 euros from club's savings account to his own account in May. He said he wanted to invest the money profitably in cryptocurrency for the club, but lost over 7,500 euros. The board has decided not to press charges yet, but will call a general meeting of the members to resolve the issue.

Photo by: Gijs van Ouwerkerk

This is evident from a letter to the members of Piranha which U-Today has had access to. The letter states that the former board member transferred a sum of 20,000 euros to his own account on 4 May 2021. He transferred the money without the knowledge of the other board members. He invested the money in cryptocurrency in order to 'make a profit for the association', but this did not go as planned. In fact, he lost over 7,500 euros. The treasury committee of the association was not aware of the transfer, because the former board member sent false account balances. This made it look as if there were 20,000 euros in the savings account, while in reality the account was empty.

Piranha's current board discovered at the end of September that something was wrong with the financial administration. The suspicious transaction of 20,000 euros also came to light then. A few days later, the former treasurer confessed. He took his loss and has since transferred 10,000 euros back to Piranha. Within a few days, the board expects to receive another 2,500 euros, but how the remaining 7,500 euros will be returned is still unclear.

Three solutions

Piranha believes that the former treasurer is guilty of embezzlement and fraud, but will not (yet) press charges. In its letter to the members, the board suggests three solutions. The first option is for the former treasurer to transfer the remaining amount in a single sum at the end of the year. Remarkably, the board writes that the former treasurer can invest money in order to 'earn back the 7,500 euros more quickly'. Other options suggested are a monthly repayment of 1,000 euros or reclaiming the money through legal action.

For now, Piranha is hesitant to embark on legal action. ‘A report sounds nice and easy, but it is not,’ the board writes in its letter. ‘Because that will have an enormous impact on many people. The consequences will also be considerable for our former treasurer. For example, he will no longer be able to apply for a VOG (Certificate of Good Conduct, ed.). He will also have a criminal record, which will reduce his chances of employment in the future.’

Cash flow

Piranha is not only embarrassed by the affair, the club is also faced with financial difficulties due to the embezzlement. ‘We expect the remaining €7,546.48 to come in during the academic year, but we have to keep in mind that it might be difficult to keep contracts and pay for instructor courses. Paying for other large unexpected items may also be difficult.'

Piranha will hold a general members' meeting on 1 December to discuss its finances. In the letter, the association invites its members to come and discuss 'solutions and possible consequences'.

Piranha's board was not available for comment, despite several attempts by U-Today.

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