Willem Holleeder, the Netherlands’ most notorious gangland figure, was released from jail on Friday after serving six years of a nine-year sentence for extortion and blackmail.
The 53-year-old, who also spent time in jail for kidnapping beer magnate Freddie Heineken, was taken by car to a secret location ‘on a public road’ where he was picked up by friends, the Telegraaf reported.
The paper said the release had been closely coordinated by justice ministry officials in an effort to avoid Holleeder being either greeted as a hero or attacked.
The NRC reported at the beginning of January that Holleeder would not face charges in an ongoing investigation into gangland killings and would be freed from prison at the end of the month.
Holleeder was sentenced to nine years in jail by an Amsterdam court in December 2007 for his part in blackmailing three property tycoons.
He still remains a suspect in an investigation into at least seven murders, known as the Passage case, and will be closely monitored.
Holleeder was earlier jailed in the 1980s for kidnapping beer magnate Freddie Heineken. The equivalent of €16m was paidin 1983 to free Heineken and his chauffeur Ab Doderer, much of which was found buried in woods near Zeist shortly after they were freed.
DutchNews.nl has been free for 12 years, but now we are asking our readers to help. Your donation will enable us to keep providing you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch.
Donate via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.