Holleeder arrested 'to prevent gangland hit'
1 February 2006, AMSTERDAM — Police arrested former Heineken kidnapper and suspected racketeer Willem Holleeder on Sunday in part to protect him from assassination, it was reported on Wednesday.
1 February 2006
AMSTERDAM — Police arrested former Heineken kidnapper and suspected racketeer Willem Holleeder on Sunday in part to protect him from assassination, it was reported on Wednesday.
Newspaper 'De Telegraaf', which has frequent scoops about events in the Dutch underworld, said Holleeder has been shadowed in recent weeks by a team of hired guns from the former Yugoslavia.
The killers, the paper said, were waiting only for the right moment to strike. Holleeder managed to avoid to attempts on his life, 'De Telegraaf' said. On these two occasions Holleeder rang the police on seeing men waiting for him in a rented van. Holleeder felt the police were being too passive about protecting him.
Amsterdammer Holleeder first came to public attention in 1983 when he and a childhood friend, Cor van Hout, were part of the gang that kidnapped beer magnate Freddy Heineken.
Holleeder and Van Hout were eventually captured in France and sentenced to 11 years by a Dutch court. Both men were freed in the early 1990s and allegedly rejoined the ranks of Amsterdam's underworld.
In 2002 'Quote' magazine ran a story about property tycoon Willem Endstra, the reputed bank of the underworld. The magazine claimed Holleeder was Endstra's enforcer.
The two men later fell out and Endstra was shot dead outside his office in Amsterdam on 17 May 2004.
Police arrested Holleeder and a number of Dutch and 'Yugoslavs' on 29 January this year on suspicion of extorting money from Endstra and other real estate dealers. The police emphasised Holleeder was not held in relation to Endstra's murder.
Several key figures in the Amsterdam underworld, including Van Hout, have been shot dead in recent years. Media speculation about Holleeder’s possible involvement in some of these murders has never been substantiated.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news