Judit Takacs on 14 Aug 2000 02:37:08 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU, TOO!


I am Judit, I am Hungarian and I would like to tell you a(n
unfortunately true)

Chris is a Dutch man - happens to be my husband -, a poor one, strictly
in the
material sense. But he is a bright one, and he was a bright kid, too:
when he
was only 11 he won the 3rd price on a computer competition and as a
result he
was given a special account by the Dutch POSTBANK, containing only three

He still has this famous account - loaded with more sentimental value
than money
- which has just recently landed him with a pack of troubles. It seems
that in
November 1999 a Breda based company called Meeus (www.meeus.com)
sent to this account 35.000 NLG, about which Chris did not even know. On
first place, he never received any bank statements concerning this money

transfer, but the lack of statements did not strike him as something
strange, as
for Chris this - usually almost empty - account was not meant to be for
use: for years now he does not even have a bank card (giromaatpas) for

Anyway, it seems that after about half a year the Meeus decided to take
Chris to
court claiming that he kept their money - what is actually true: the
money is
still there on Chris' special account, untouched and unnoticed for more
half a year.

It seems that at the end of May, 2000, a Dutch court found Chris guilty
mishandling other people's money and charged him with about 5.000 NLG
interests, which Chris never had on this money, legal costs etc.) and it
seems that all this time nobody was able to let Chris know about what
was going
on as he never received any either official nor non official news or
about the court case and its final verdict. The only exception is a
very smart Mr Jager (a 'deurwarder') who was able to locate Chris' home
Amsterdam on the 9th of August - about two months after the court case.
afternoon he popped in to Chris' home just to leave for him some
official papers
and announce that Chris has two days left before all his belongings
would be
confiscated up to the value of 40.000 NLG.

When Mr Jager came to Chris' home, I was alone with the children. Mr
Jager did
not introduce himself, he just told me that he was from the court. He
unfriendly and his talking style reminded me of some kind of
interrogation (or
more precisely, of how I imagine that): he asked me who I was and
whether we
were legally married, and what Chris job was. When I asked him what he
he replied that my husband had committed some crimes because he did not
back some money to whom he owed that money. When I told him that it
sounded very
irrealistic and I referred to the possibility that it was just a
misunderstanding, his reply was a simple "no, no" and then he wrote
something on
the papers what he finally left with me and in a rather terrifying way -
looking around in the room where we were - he said that Chris should
contact him because in two days time he will come to confiscate things.

So just about 9 months after someone at Meeus made a mistake - resulting
in the
conviction of a Dutch citizen, being unaware of all these happenings,
who has
not committed anything illegal in this case - Chris was suddenly
about his situation in a rather strange way.

Since his 'enlightenment' the following things have happened:

Chris tried to contact the Meeus in Breda but they refused to talk with
about this matter.

Chris phoned the POSTBANK to be sure that it is not a bad joke - and
yes, the
money, the full amount, was still on his special account.

Chris contacted a lawyer and following the lawyer's advice the day after
Jager's very unpleasant visit, on the 10th of August, Chris sent a fax
to the
POSTBANK asking them to send the 35.000 NLG to Mr Jager. Chris also
informed Mr
Jager about this in a letter which he faxed him (with the copy of the
fax Chris
sent to the POSTBANK earlier that day). In this letter
Chris proposed that the Meeus should agree to stop pursuing him for the
costs and interests above the original amount.

And what happened next? On the 11th of May Chris got a letter from the
announcing that ALL his bank accounts were frozen because of the actions
of a
certain Mr Jager. This announcement arrived on Friday which
meant that - as nothing could be done during the weekend - Chris, me and
children were just left in more trouble and distress...

It is not a nice thing to be wrongly accused - in fact, it is TERRIBLE!
And it
is almost unimaginable for me (or at least it was till now) that these
kind of
things CAN happen (and are happening!) here and now and to you -
affecting your
family life (for example, it is difficult to explain to our children
causing all this stress around them), your personal life (Chris is
stressed out,
"a bit uneasy" about the 'what happens next?' factor) and your
professional life
(Chris should make arrangements for his
next journey in September which has something to do with radio
technology - but
with frozen accounts everything is becoming quite difficult; not to
mention the
fact that because of all this unforeseen trouble he is unable to
concentrate on
his work).

The whole case seems to be a nightmare for Chris - but unfortunately
this is
part of our present day reality. The reason why I am telling you this
story can
be summarized in one short sentence which is accidentally also a film's
"IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU, TOO"! (Well, actually the story of the film was
about a
hit man, but no worries that was only a film...)

Amsterdam, 2000 August 13th

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