REAL ESTATE - BPF Bouwinvest, the real estate arm of Dutch pension fund BPF Bouw, has become embroiled in a row between the European Parliament and its host city Strasbourg.

Dutch MEP Edith Mastenbroek has been quoted as saying the “current situation is a big scandal”.

BPF Bouwinvest is the property investor for the Stichting Bedrijfstakpensioenfonds voor de Bouwnijverheid (BPF Bouw). Approximately 25% of the scheme is invested in property.

According to statements made by MEPs, the French city has been putting part of the rent due for parliamentary offices to the pension fund into its own pocket.

At present, the parliament rents two office buildings from the city for €10.5m per year. According to Strasbourg, the offices are owned by Dutch pension fund BPF Bouw, via its subsidiary Erasme.

But in the last few weeks it has emerged that Strasbourg takes around 25% from Erasme.

The figures have become public when the parliament tried to acquire the two offices for €136m, but this was stopped when it emerged that Strasbourg would take a €29m cut on the deal.

The issue has seen rental payments blocked by the parliament until further notice.

The row comes amid the backdrop of calls for the parliament to end the current situation of 12 meetings in Strasbourg per year.

After questions in the parliament, the city council has acknowledged taking part of the rent, which is based on the fact that the pension fund according to Strasbourg is not the 100% owner.

BPF Bouwinvest general manager Anne Bodzinga said the matter had has been taken totally out of context.