The sum of €1.4m to be paid to a key crown witness in a major gangland killing trial should not be seen as a reward but as money to enable him to live independently and in safety, the public prosecution department said on Monday.
At the weekend, Nos television revealed former gang member Peter la Serpe is to be given €800,000 over 10 years plus €600,000 as an interest-free loan to build up a new life.
The loan is to buy a company or house while the rest of the money is to pay for security and to guarantee an income, public prosecution department documents said.
La Serpe’s testimony is central to the trial of 10 men and one woman charged with at least seven gangland killings and which started in the high-security court in Amsterdam in 2009.
La Serpe’s lawyers said on Monday they plan to take legal action against the public prosecutor for breaking confidentiality agreements. They also want the source of the leak to be investigated.
In Dutch law, prosecutors are not allowed to pay for information but can offer reasonable compensation. Lawyers told Nos television the amount being paid to La Serpe is ‘unusually high’.
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