Holleeder blackmail trial verdict due today

Judges in Amsterdam are due to give their verdict today in the blackmail case against suspected crime boss Willem Holleeder and eight co-defendants.

The public prosecution department has called on the court to sentence Holleeder to 12 years in jail. His co-defendants face sentences of up to four years.
The trial is the result of a three-year investigation into Holleeder, who was jailed in the 1980s for kidnapping beer magnate Freddie Heineken.
The current case against him is largely based on witness testimony. The most damning are recorded statements given by property tycoon and alleged blackmail victim Willem Endstra, who was murdered in 2004.
Holleeder was originally charged with blackmailing four people, but one case was dropped because of a lack of evidence.
Holleeder’s trial began earlier this year but was halted after he developed serious heart trouble. The hearings resumed in September.
In early October key witness Bram Zeegers died of a drugs overdose just days after giving evidence.

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