THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Dutch government reported its own taxation office to public prosecutors on Tuesday, seeking an investigation into possible discrimination in a long-running scandal centered on civil servants trying to track down parents fraudulently claiming child care benefits.
The case involves thousands of parents who had their child care benefit payments stopped or were ordered to repay money amid fraud investigations. In some cases, parents were plunged into financial problems after being wrongly accused of falsely claiming benefits.
The investigation into possible discrimination between 2013 and 2017 comes amid reports of possible profiling by tax authorities as they sought to identify fraudsters. Dutch media have reported that one of the criterion used to select parents for investigation was having dual nationality.
The finance ministry said in a statement that an independent expert who looked into the case based his suspicion of discrimination on “questions in Tax Service systems based on origin.”
Government officials have apologized for the scandal and in March earmarked 500 million euros ($550 million) to compensate more than 20,000 parents.