Max Verstappen handed huge blow amid criminal investigation

Jumbo's former CEO was involved in a criminal investigation into money laundering.

According to Algemeen Dagblad newspaper, reigning World Champion Max Verstappen is set to lose his biggest personal sponsor, Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo.

The Dutchman has been sponsored by the supermarket chain since he made the switch from Toro Rosso to Red Bull in 2016, with his success at the pinnacle of motorsport having done wonders for the company.

However, Jumbo’s former CEO and owner Fritz van Eerd was recently embroiled in a money laundering scandal, with the supermarket’s new CEO having opted to divert away from motorsport.

Following the scandal, virtually all of Jumbo’s sporting sponsorships were ended, with the exception of their deal with the two-time World Champion.

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Reportedly, Verstappen’s time being sponsored by Jumbo is also set to end though, at the conclusion of 2023.

As a result of the scandal, new CEO Ton van Veen has admitted that the company need to move beyond sport sponsorships, resulting in them bringing their time as Verstappen’s personal sponsor to an end.

“Max is of course a folk hero, but he acts on the absolute world stage,” said van Veen. “We are a very good food retailer, but only in the Netherlands and a little bit in Belgium.

“We invest more than 20 million euros annually in sports sponsorship, but I can only spend every euro once. We cannot return the money that goes to Max to the customer, or put it into sustainability or health.”

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The criminal investigation into the former Jumbo CEO does concerningly involve the supermarket’s motorsport contracts, adding further emphasis into why van Veen is keen for the company to leave their time as a motorsport sponsor behind.

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“We want nothing to do with motorsport and the allegations,” van Veen confirmed.

“But with Max Verstappen and (cycling team) Jumbo-Visma, we’re stopping for a completely different reason. That sponsorship has brought us a lot of brand awareness, but we have now won everything there is to win.”

Given how much success Verstappen has enjoyed in recent years, it likely won’t be difficult for him to find a new personal sponsor, with him having only recently entered a partnership with EA Sports, who’s logo now features on his helmet.