The Dutch government has broken the law by not informing the parliament of its intention to buy a 14% stake in Air France-KLM in February 2019, the Dutch Court of Audit (Algemene Rekenkamer) has ruled.

"We believe that the expenditure of EUR744.4 million euros (USD815 million) was in violation of Article 2.27 of the Government Accounts Act 2016... A minister may only make expenditure if parliament has approved a budget in advance. In this case, the state has entered into an obligation without that parliamentary authorisation," the auditors have stated.

The Court underlined that only 12 members of the permanent Finance Committee of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the parliament, were informed in confidentiality. However, this level of information was not formally correct. Also, the Senate was not informed at all.

The government defended its actions by saying that given the commercial sensitivity of the transaction, it would have been against the interest of the state to disclose its intention before the purchase. The auditors rejected this argument and pointed out that the whole parliament could have been informed confidentially. Such a step would not breach the European rules prohibiting insider trading since the Members of the Parliament would have been obliged to keep the details confidential until the execution of the transaction.

The Court of Auditors recommended an amendment to the Government Accounts Act 2016, which would clarify the procedures for the future. The government agreed with the recommendation.

The Dutch government currently owns a 14% stake in Air France-KLM and is the second-largest shareholder after the French government, which owns a 14.3% stake. Before February 2019, the Netherlands did not own a stake in the carrier.