The Public Prosecution Department (OM) said on Thursday that it had enough evidence to prosecute alleged crime boss Willem Holleeder for blackmailing four property magnates. At a pre-trial hearing in the heavily-guarded courtroom in Amsterdam’s Osdorp district, public prosecutor Koos Plooij said that a number of witnesses had come forward to confirm the contents of secret talks between property boss Willem Endstra and the police in 2003.
In those talks, Endstra claimed that he and other businessmen had been/were being? blackmailed for millions of euros. Endstra was shot dead on Amsterdam’s Apollolaan in 2004. The OM is still investigating the role of four other people alleged to have been involved in laundering the blackmail money. They have all been remanded in custody.
Plooij said Holleeder was involved in three separate blackmail operations, ANP reported. ‘The total picture is certainly not one of fragmented evidence as the defence claims,’ Plooij told the court.
Holleeder, who has already served an 11-year jail sentence for kidnapping Heineken boss Freddie Heineken in 1983, is also under investigation for his role in a number of gangland killings.
Amsterdam’s police chief, Bernard Welten, said yesterday the halving of the capital’s murder rate to 17 last year was due to a clampdown on organised crime – and Holleeders’ connections in particular.
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