|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Dutch Wikipedia. (January 2012)|
29 May 1958 |
|Criminal charge||1983: Heineken kidnapping 2006: Extortion, assault|
|Criminal penalty||1983: 11 years imprisonment 2007: 9 years imprisonment|
Willem Frederik Holleeder (born 29 May 1958) is a Dutch criminal. In 2007 he was sentenced to nine years in prison for several counts of extortion, including the extortion of Willem Endstra, who was murdered in 2004 after falling-out with Holleeder. He served his sentence in Nieuw Vosseveld and was released on 27 January 2012. In 1983, Holleeder was sentenced to eleven years imprisonment for his involvement in the kidnapping of Heineken president Freddy Heineken, for which 16 million euro ransom was collected.
Born in 1958 in Amsterdam, Holleeder was the son of an employee at the Heineken breweries who lost his job because of alcoholism. As a teenager, he, along with his classmate Cor van Hout were part of a gang that worked for landlords in evicting squatters, and may have been involved in several robberies. Cor van Hout was later to become his brother-in-law.
In 1983, their relatively unknown gang abducted the Heineken heir Freddy Heineken (who had purchased back the family ownership of the brewery), along with his chauffeur in a daring kidnap. Ultimately, their demand for 35 million guilders ransom (Euro 16 mil.) was met by the family, although the police were against it. After Freddy Heineken's release, the kidnappers - Cor van Hout, Willem Holleeder, Jan Boelaard, Frans Meijer, and Martin Erkamps- were all eventually traced and served prison sentences. In this period Holleeder met many other gangsters, including John Mieremet, who was later accused of ordering the murder of Holleeder's brother-in-law and co-criminal Cor van Hout.
After serving the Heineken sentence, Holleeder emerged as a high-profile criminal leader, riding scooters and buying goods on the main fashion streets of Amsterdam and hobnobbing with popstars. Several million of the Heineken ransom was never traced, and may have been part of his initial kitty with which he and Cor van Hout set up an extortion empire; there are said to be up to 24 people in his crime ring.
Initially, he was in a business relationship with real estate businessman Willem Endstra, possibly involving money laundering,. After Cor van Hout was killed in 2003, Holleeder fell out with Endstra. Endstra secretly testified to the police about Holleeder, but was shot dead near his office in 2004. It is suspected that Holleeder, along with his partner-in-crime Dino S., ordered the murder of both Willem Endstra and John Mieremet, who was shot in Thailand on 2 November 2005. Holleeder's name keeps turning up in this connection although three suspects in the Endstra murder, Ali N. (23) and C. Özgür (27) of Alkmaar and Cleon D. (27) from Almere have been released. According to Endstra, Holleeder was involved in 25 murders, including that of Cor van Hout.
The Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported on 16 July 2006, that Holleeder and Cor van Hout had planned to kidnap Prince Bernhard instead of Freddy Heineken in the 1980s. Thomas van der Bijl, who was murdered in his bar in Amsterdam in April 2006, made these allegations in a deposition before the Dutch national police
2007 trial and sentencing
Holleeder's 2006 trial was dubbed the Trial of the Century. His lawyer, Bram Moszkowicz, argued that media pronunciations on Holleeder as one of the "topcriminelen" had prejudiced the case against him. However, Moszkowicz was forced to resign after media allegations of conflict of interest, since he had also been the lawyer for Willem Endstra.
Among the witnesses in the trial was lawyer Bram Zeegers, who testified that Holleeder had been extorting millions of euros from Endstra between 2000 and 2004. A week after the testimony, Zeegers was found dead of drug overdose.
In late 2007, Holleeder underwent a heart valve surgery; initially reports of his failing health were thought to be a hoax, but present medical opinion appears to suggest that he is indeed in poor health and may not survive the present sentence.
While he was under detention in 2008, he was also arrested for alleged involvement in the murder of Yugoslav drugs dealer Serge Miranovic in 2006.
Holleeder was released from De Schie prison in Rotterdam on 27 January 2012, after serving two-thirds of his nine-year term. He had been due to be released on 31 January but was let out early to avoid publicity. 
In May 2013 Holleeder was arrested in a large operation involving 450 police and army personnel. He is suspected of extortion. The victim of the alleged extortion was Theo Huisman who is the ex-president of the Amsterdam chapter of the Hells Angels. On June 12, 2013 Holleeder was released from prison but remains a suspect in the case.
- www.nu.nl (video)
- De oorlog in de Amsterdamse onderwereld by Bart Middelburg and Paul Vugts
- Holleeder wilde Prins ontvoeren (Telegraaf)