A Dutch spammer has been hit with a €75,000 fine from regulator OPTA, one of the largest ever levied in the Netherlands.

The unidentified spammer,who sent more than 9 billion e-mail advertisements, was fined such a large amount because of the sheer volume of e-mail and the use of several hundred "zombie" computers. The fine tops the €42,000 levied by the Dutch regulator in 2004.

Dutch authorities were alerted to the spammer by various computer users and companies. OPTA Chairman Chris Fonteijn said governments and businesses need to work hand in hand to combat spam effectively.

The European Union issued a directive two years ago, requiring companies promoting products and services by e-mail, SMS (Short Message Service), facsimile or mobile phones to receive permission by recipients and to reveal their identity.

Original story by IDG news service