The former Jumbo CEO seems to be in big, big trouble

Frits Van Eerd had to step down as the head of the supermarket chain in September and things have only got worse since then.

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While everyone at the cycling teams bearing Jumbo’s name could barely have had a better year, it’s not been one to remember for the now former CEO of the supermarket chain.

Frits Van Eerd was forced to step down from his position at the helm of the company in late September after being arrested as a suspect in a money laundering case and now it turns out the police have found hundreds of thousands of Euros in cash at his property.

Nine people were arrested, with the main suspect being a former motorcross driver turned car dealer called “Theo E.” who knows Van Eerd from the motorsport world where Jumbo also have various sponsorships.

The crux of the fraud case, according to the prosecution, is the laundering of money and goods through real estate transactions, car dealerships, unexplained cash deposits and sponsorship contracts in motorcross sport as well as a suspicion of VAT fraud in the buying and selling of cars.

In a statement at the time, Jumbo said they didn’t understand the investigation to be related to anything involving the supermarket chain, and there also seems to be no connection with either the sponsorship of the cycling and skating teams, or the sponsorship of Max Verstappen’s Red Bull Formula 1 team. Van Eerd is a big sports fan and a driving force behind these deals.

Nevertheless, Van Eerd stepped down from his role. “This is in Jumbo’s interest and also makes it possible for Frits to fully concentrate on his personal situation,” the supermarket said in a statement at the time. “The Van Eerd family, the supervisory board and the management team respect this courageous decision and promise him all their support in the coming period.”

The situation won’t seem to have any effect on the sports teams sponsored by the company, according to Jac Orie, the coach of the Jumbo-Visma skating team. “Jumbo has told us that we do not have to fear for the future of the team,” he said at a team presentation a week after the arrests came to light.

“It’s an unpleasant situation,” he continued. “We all sympathise with Jumbo and the Van Eerd family. Of course, the matter was a topic of conversation with us. But after a few days that also subsided, because there was training to get done.”

The current sponsorship deal of both the cycling and skating teams are due to last until at least the end of 2024.

At the time of Van Eerd’s arrest, his home in Heeswijk-Dinther, a town in the south of the Netherlands, was searched. The 55-year-old was released after five days in jail.

More than a month later, the Dutch Fiscal Intelligence and Investigation Service (Fiod) announced they had found hundreds of thousands of Euros in cash at Van Eerd’s property.

Van Eerd’s lawyer did not say whether Van Eerd has given a statement to the Fiod about the origins of the money and Theo E. remains the main suspect in the criminal investigation, with whom Van Eerd had business dealings in recent years.

The auditing firm KPMG has launched an investigation into Jumbo’s sponsorship contracts in motorsport.

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