Expatica news

Gang who kidnapped Heineken tycoon arrested

4 July 2007

THE HAGUE – Fraud investigators in Spain and the Netherlands detained eight suspects in an international investigation into the laundering of part of the multimillion dollar ransom paid to free beer tycoon Freddie Heineken when he was kidnapped in 1983, prosecutors said.

The key suspect was 58-year-old Rob Grifhorst, known by his nickname “The Builder,” who was arrested in Malaga, according to a statement from the Dutch public prosecutor’s office.

Seven others were arrested in the Netherlands after investigators and police raided homes across the Netherlands and in Spain, Switzerland and on the Caribbean islands of Curacao and Aruba.

The coordinated raids and arrests, the latest twist in a criminal saga that has enthralled this country for nearly 25 years, were the result of the failure of heirs of one the kidnappers to pay inheritance taxes.

Grifhorst is suspected of helping launder part of the US$10 million ransom paid to Heineken’s kidnappers in 1983. Although key members of the gang were arrested and imprisoned, millions were never recovered.

Prosecutors say several million was buried in plastic bags in a park in France and later dug up and then spread around Dutch and offshore companies that invested in real estate, including 12 brothels in the town of Alkmaar, 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Amsterdam.

The kidnapping of Heineken and his chauffeur Ab Doderer remains one of the Netherlands’ most notorious crimes and is believed to have been the backdrop for at least two several underworld slayings.

One of the kidnappers, Cor van Hout, was gunned down in a mob-style hit in 2003 while another, Willem Holleeder, is currently in jail awaiting trial on extortion charges.

The man who told prosecutors he helped dig up the ransom money, Thomas van der Bijl, was murdered last year.

Relatives of Van Hout are now suspected of tax evasion in 2004 for not declaring to tax authorities that they had inherited the Alkmaar brothels after his slaying, prosecutors said. The administrator of Van Hout’s estate also was among those whose arrests were reported Tuesday.

Another was Johan Verhoek, a former drug baron also known as the Stutterer, prosecutors said.

Verhoek, who prosecutors say owes tax authorities more than €100 million (US$136 million), was arrested at a stately home east of Amsterdam. He is suspected of using some of the Alkmaar brothels to launder money.

[Copyright AP with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news