Property tycoon Jan-Dirk Paarlberg has been sentenced to 4.5 years in jail for laundering money which gangland boss Willem Holleeder is said to have earned through blackmailing.
Paarlberg, a former close friend of European Commissioner Neelie Kroes, was in court for the verdict and said he was shocked by the conviction. ‘I never expected this,’ he told reporters.
The money came from Willem Endstra, another property speculator who was murdered in 2004 but made several statements before his death saying he was being blackmailed.
Holleeder has been convicted of blackmailing Endstra and two other men.
Paarlberg has said the payments, made to bank accounts in the Netherlands and Switzerland, were part of an agreement to end his working relationship with Endstra. But the court said the payments had to be seen as indirect payments to Holleeder.
Paarlberg is to appeal against the conviction.