Dutch Heineken kidnapper in court for planned hits on sisters

10th May 2016, Comments 0 comments

Convicted Dutch gangster Willem Holleeder, who gained notoriety for the 1983 kidnapping of a Heineken beer tycoon, was accused in court Tuesday of orchestrating hits on his two sisters and a prominent journalist from his jail cell.

"Officials leading the investigation accused Holleeder at an initial appearance this morning, of plans to assassinate his sisters Astrid and Sonja Holleeder as well as crime reporter Peter de Vries," prosecutors said a statement issued in Amsterdam.

Investigators confronted Holleeder last month in his cell in the maximum-security prison at Vught, in the southern Netherlands, after a fellow prisoner informed authorities of the plans.

Known as "The Nose" after his prominent facial feature, 55-year-old Holleeder is in custody while on trial for a number of cases involving the Amsterdam underworld.

He faces murder and attempted murder charges as well as that of belonging to a criminal organisation.

He was arrested in his cell on April 11 "on suspicion of soliciting for the assassinations," prosecutors said.

"Holleeder allegedly already paid money and promised more should his plans indeed be carried out," they added.

His two sisters testified against him last year in a murder case involving the Amsterdam criminal underworld, Dutch newspaper NRC reported, saying that Holleeder "wanted revenge".

"He doesn't tolerate being crossed," his sister Astrid told the paper.

Journalist De Vries, who wrote a best-selling book about the Heineken kidnapping, has filed a death threat complaint against Holleeder.

The long-nosed criminal became a household name in the Netherlands for his role in the abduction of beer magnate Freddy Heineken and his driver three decades ago.

The two were released after a ransom of 35 million Dutch guilders (15.8 million euros, $18 million today) was paid. Most of the money was never recovered.

Holleeder was sentenced to 11 years in 1987 for the kidnapping and released five years later.

The Heineken kidnapping is one of the country's best-known crime sagas and was turned into a movie, with a new version starring Anthony Hopkins released last year.

Holleeder became a minor celebrity until his arrest in December 2014, even appearing on television and posing for pictures with fans on Amsterdam's beer terraces, earning him the dubious title of a "knuffelcrimineel" (huggable criminal).

© 2016 AFP

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