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Dutch gangster plotted 'sister murders'

Do Not UseDo Not Use 10/05/2016
Freddy Heineken was released unharmed after a large ransom was paid in 1983 © BBC Freddy Heineken was released unharmed after a large ransom was paid in 1983

A convicted Dutch gangland leader, notorious for the 1983 kidnapping of a Heineken beer tycoon, has been accused of plotting to kill his sisters.

Willem Holleeder is already in jail, pending trial in a number of cases involving the Amsterdam underworld.

The sisters, who testified against him in a murder case last year, say they are "bewildered but not surprised".

The suspect is also accused of plotting to murder crime reporter Peter de Vries. He denies all charges.

'Not in my interest'

Dubbed "The Nose", 55-year-old Holleeder was already in custody facing murder and attempted murder charges, as well as belonging to a criminal organisation.

He was arrested in his cell in April over the alleged plot to kill his sisters after a tip-off from a fellow prisoner, prosecutors said.

"Holleeder allegedly already paid money and promised more, should his plans indeed be carried out," they added.

Appearing in court on Tuesday, Holleeder denied he had plans to kill his sisters and Mr de Vries.

"It's absolutely not in my interest that anything happens to them," he said.

'Revenge'

When his sisters testified against him in a murder case last year, one of them said she was signing her death warrant.

Astrid Holleeder told the Dutch newspaper NRC she had hoped she would be safe after his arrest in 2014. But instinctively she knew he would not leave them alone.

"He doesn't tolerate opposition", she told the paper. "Willem wants revenge."

Crime journalist Peter de Vries, who wrote a best-selling book about the Heineken kidnapping, also suspects revenge as the motive: "He's let it be known several times that he's after me," he said.

Holleeder became a household name in the Netherlands for his role in the abduction of beer magnate Freddy Heineken and his driver more than three decades ago.

The two were released unharmed after a large ransom was paid.

Holleeder was sentenced to 11 years for the kidnapping, which became one of the country's best-known crime sagas and was turned into a movie last year.

He was arrested again in 2006 for extortion against two men who were later found dead, and released in 2012 after serving two thirds of his sentence.

He became a minor celebrity until he was re-arrested in December 2014, even appearing on TV and posing for pictures with fans on Amsterdam's beer terraces.

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