The long-awaited trial of suspected crime boss Willem Holleeder has been moved to a different court in Amsterdam for security reasons, a court spokesman told news agency ANP. The trial is now scheduled to start at the Parnassusweg court building at 2pm.
The trial had been due to begin on Monday morning at the high security court complex in Osdorp known as the Bunker but the building was hit by a series of small explosions at around 3am. A number of windows were damaged in the blasts, but the cause was not immediately clear.
The trial of Holleeder on blackmail charges is the biggest anti-organised crime case to be heard in the Netherlands in recent years. Holleeder and nine others are accused of blackmailing four property investors, including Willem Endstra. Endstra was shot dead on an Amsterdam street in 2004.
Holleeder and his co-accused are also charged with being members of a criminal organisation. They were arrested in January 2006 and have been in custody since then.
The trial is complicated by the fact that Endstra and alleged victim Kees Houtman are both dead. The two other alleged victims both deny they were being blackmailed. Nevertheless, the prosecution is convinced it can prove its case.
Two anonymous witnesses are to be called in the trial, Holleeder’s defence lawyer Jan-Heijn Kuijpers said on Saturday. The witnesses will say that Endstra was himself behind a failed murder attempt and had blackmailed a business partner, Kuijpers said.
Holleeder is also under investigation for murder.
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