Conflict of interest at Leiden University
Leiden University has concealed the fact that the Dutch Tax Authority pays for a professor who researches the feasibility of tax legislation.
Since 2015 the Tax Authorities pay most of the costs of the Leiden chair ‘Social and historical context of tax law’, reported the television programme Nieuwsuur last Friday. The website of the university only stated that the Leiden chair was established in 1997 by the Tax and Customs Museum.
With 425 thousand euros for the period from 2015 to 2025, the Tax Authorities will pay for the scientific research of professor Rex Arendsen and two PhD students. Arendsen works one day a week at the university and has been employed by the Tax and Customs Administration four days a week for many years.
Science Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf is shocked, he told Nieuwsuur. “I think it should be absolutely 100 percent clear how professors are paid for and that we know there is no conflict of interest and no outside influence. I find the concealment and hiding of such constructions unacceptable.”
At the beginning of April, after a broadcast by Nieuwsuur about the incomplete registration of professors' side income, Dijkgraaf already announced that he would like to have a discussion with the universities about their transparency . That discussion will take place today (Tuesday May 17). (HOP, HC)