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Dutch spammer fined €250,000

A software developer in Holland has been fined €250,000 ($355,000) by telecoms regulators for launching a junk email campaign of more than 21 million spam messages.

Reinier Schenkhuizen was ordered to pay €250,000 by local telecommunications regulator OPTA, €150,000 of which was for distributing junk emails with the remaining €100,000 for failing to create a means for recipients to unsubscribe to unwanted messages

In a further sanction, Schenkhuizen will fined an additional €5,000 per day, up to a maximum of €100,000, for every day that he continues to distribute unsolicited emails.

At the hearing in Amsterdam, OPTA alleged that Schenkhuizen was a “persistent spammer”, distributing as many as 21m junk emails via an online mass-mailing portal known as ADVERTERENisGRATIS (which translated into English means “Free Advertising”), owned by Schenkhuizen software development business.

The fine follows a series of complaints received by OPTA, dating back to March 2005, over spam sent by Schenkhuizen. Since then, OPTA have received a total of 379 individual complaints.

Schenkhuizen, in an interview with the German Press Agency dpa, denied that his company had sent 21 million unsolicited mails and said he would appeal the decision.

He claimed that the regulator “does not understand” that each e-mail his customers send with his e-mail client automatically contains “some information” about his business Serinco Benelux.

“Any commercial information about my company is integrated in my software,” he added.

It is not the first time that Dutch authorities have clamped down on spam emails, with OPTA issuing fines of €510,000($723,000) against two corporations for consistently breaching Dutch anti-spam law back in May 2008.

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