Serious accusations are being made against one of Max Verstappen’s long-time sponsors. The Formula 1 world champion’s camp warns against speculation that it has nothing to do with some serious legal allegations. However, Verstappens’ sponsorship is firmly part of the police investigation.
The Dutch entrepreneur Fritz Van Eerd, who as managing director and owner of his supermarket chain Jumbo, is one of the sponsors of Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen. Eerd is suspected of money laundering on a grand scale, last week his house was searched by the police, the “Eindhoven News” reported recently.
The money laundering is alleged to have taken place, among other things, through financial transactions in motorsport, according to the police investigation. Further, the alleged fraud scandal was also noticed in Verstappen’s accounts, even though the Red Bull driver’s entourage remained emphatically guarded about the subject.
Raymond Vermeulen, who manages the world champion’s career together with Max’s father Jos Verstappen, told the newspaper Algemeen Dagblad: “You have to be careful here.”
The Verstappen camp is now waiting “for the facts to come on the table” for the time being, Vermeulen elaborated:
“We are in contact with Jumbo, management and marketing will continue as usual. One should be “careful” with “all kinds of insinuations”.
Nevertheless, Vermeulen distanced his client from Van Eerd: “We have agreements with Jumbo and the supermarket is not part of the investigation. That has been made clear.”
Jumbo issued a statement on Thursday evening saying Van Eerd was being questioned as part of the investigation:
“During his absence, the day-to-day operations of Jumbo were ensured by the management team,” wrote the supermarket chain, which has grown into a billion-dollar company under the leadership of the Van Eerd family.
📕 Detenido por la policía holandesa el CEO de #Jumbo Fritz Van Eerd, uno de los patrocinadores personales de #Verstappen.
Ha sido acusado de blanqueo de dinero.
La cadena de supermercados aporta unos 2 millones de € anuales como sponsor de Max. pic.twitter.com/88iD7sLlMq
— Pedro Fermin Flores (@PedroFerminF1) September 14, 2022
On 18 October 1979, Jan and Anita Meurs opened the first Jumbo supermarket in a former church building in Tilburg. It was named after the elephant Jumbo as an act of one-upping the name of a local rival store called Torro, which belonged to Van Eerd. In 1983, Van Eerd bought the Jumbo store from the Meurs family and subsequently expanded, first in the southern provinces, then nationwide.
As of May 2006, 77 establishments have been opened throughout the Netherlands. Together they have a market share of 3.4% in the Netherlands as of 1 January 2006. The head office and distribution centre are situated in Veghel. Jumbo has three regional distribution centres: Beilen, Drachten, and Den Bosch. With the opening of Jumbo in Valthermond, Drenthe in October 2005, there is a Jumbo in every province of the Netherlands. Until the acquisition of C1000, relatively few Jumbos were in the Randstad.
Rather interestingly, in September 2011, CVC Capital Partners announced that they would sell the C1000 supermarket chain. CVC being the same former owners of Formula 1 under Bernie Ecclestone. On 23 November 2011 it was announced that Jumbo would take over all C1000 stores. As a consequence Jumbo became the second largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands, after Albert Heijn.
As a sponsor, Jumbo is very active in the world of sport. Besides the reigning Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen, the company also sponsors the cycling team Jumbo-Visma, various football clubs and billiards tournaments, among others.