Holleeder in court on extortion charges

11th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

11 May 2006, AMSTERDAM — Convicted Heineken kidnapper Willem Holleeder and six other men appear in court on Thursday in relation to extortion charges.

11 May 2006

AMSTERDAM — Convicted Heineken kidnapper Willem Holleeder and six other men appear in court on Thursday in relation to extortion charges.

Holleeder, 47, is accused of heading a criminal gang that allegedly extorted  from leading business figures and laundered money. The case is based on statements made by anonymous witnesses.

Thursday's preliminary court hearing is being held under strict security at the court in Schiphol. Normally such cases are held at the high-security Amsterdam courthouse, known as the Bunker. But the case was moved as the Bunker is dealing with another high-profile case. Holleeder and 13 other people were arrested in January. Now only Holleeder and six others remain in custody.

The prosecution hopes to present the trial with statements made by several anonymous witnesses as well as allegations made by property tycoon Willem Endstra. Endstra made several statements to prosecutors and the police about his dealings with Holleeder shortly before he was murdered in 2004.

These statements have been leaked to the media and journalists from Amsterdam newspaper 'Het Parool' have published them in a book.

Holleeder, nicknamed 'De Neus' (the Nose), was part of the gang that kidnapped beer magnate Freddy Heineken and his chauffeur in 1983. He was sentenced to 11 years in jail for the crime and was released in the early 1990s.

Endstra allegedly told the police that Holleeder was responsible for 25 gangland murders. He is suspected of more killings in the two years since Endstra's death. The prosecution has not charged Holleeder with any murders.

His alleged victims, apart from Endstra, are said to include fellow Heineken kidnapper Cor van Hout and Amsterdam crime boss Sam Klepper. More recently Holleeder's name has been linked to the murders of former armed robber Cees Houtman and Amsterdam criminal John Mieremet in Thailand.

Newspaper De Telegraaf reported on Thursday that Endstra told the police Holleeder was behind a break-in during which a laptop belonging to the paper's crime reporter John van den Heuvel was stolen in 2002. The theft occurred shortly after the journalist had a number of interviews with Mieremet. Endstra said Holleeder intended to have Van den Heuvel murdered. 

[Copyright Expatica News + 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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