Dutch court jails Ikea blackmailers
13 August 2004, AMSTERDAM — Two men have been jailed by a court in Amsterdam for trying to blackmail Swedish home furnishing retailer Ikea by planting bombs in two of its Dutch stores. A bomb disposal expert was seriously injured when one of the devices partially exploded.
13 August 2004
AMSTERDAM — Two men have been jailed by a court in Amsterdam for trying to blackmail Swedish home furnishing retailer Ikea by planting bombs in two of its Dutch stores. A bomb disposal expert was seriously injured when one of the devices partially exploded.
The court sentenced Victor S., 25, to seven years in jail and co-defendant Janus S., 57, to four years. Both are Polish. Two weeks ago the Public Prosecutor's Office (OM) called for eight-year sentences for both men.
On 3 December 2002, Ikea in Amsterdam received a letter written in broken German, demanding that the company pay EUR 250,000. Failure to do so, the letter warned, would result in bombs being detonated at its Dutch outlets within 24 hours.
All 10 Ikea stores in the Netherlands were closed to the public the following day. Two bombs were found, one in an Amsterdam outlet and one in the Sliedrecht store, near Rotterdam.
The second bomb was moved by a bomb disposal team to a local police station. It partially exploded and seriously wounded one of the officers.
It emerged later that Ikea had tried to pay the money but could not make contact with the blackmailers.
The sentencing judge noted the two bombs had lain in the stores for at least 24 hours before the blackmail demand was issued. A very dangerous situation, involving 'unstable bombs' had been created and this had created great unrest among the public, the judge said.
The Jjudge also said the men had acted purely in pursuit of profit and they had not concerned themselves with the 'potential injury' that the bombs could have caused.
The defendants denied involvement in the blackmail plot. They claimed they were asked by two Russians to travel to the Netherlands from Germany, where they worked, to make some money. They did not know what the Russians had planned, they said.
Defendant Janus S. also claimed one of the Russians had asked him to go and have a look around the Ikea stores in Amsterdam and Sliedrecht, but he denied he had planted the bombs while doing so.
The court said it did not exclude the possibility other people were also involved in the blackmail plot. However, investigations by police failed to uncover any evidence of the Russians the defendants blamed.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news, Ikea, blackmail