20:01 GMT13 April 2021
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    Willem Holleeder is the most famous gangster in the Netherlands, best known for his role in the kidnapping of beer tycoon Freddy Heineken in 1983. But after years of ruling the Dutch underworld his time might be up as he faces trial for a number of gangland killings.

    Holleeder's trial is due to start in Amsterdam on May 15. Among those he is accused of murdering is his old friend and fellow Heineken kidnapper Cor Van Hout, who was shot dead in 2003.

    In 2015 Holleeder tried to prevent the film, The Kidnapping of Freddy Heineken, being distributed in Holland because he was apparently unhappy with the way he was portrayed.

    Holleeder is nicknamed "The Nose" because of his prominent proboscis, but in the film he was played by handsome Australian actor Sam Worthington. British actor Jim Sturgess starred as Van Hout.

    Holleeder's father worked at the Heineken factory but from a youthful age he went off the rails and became involved in crime. Heineken and his chauffeur were kidnapped on 9 November 1983 and released unharmed three weeks after a large ransom was paid.

    The ransom of 35 million Dutch guilders (US$21.73 million) was buried in woods near the town of Zeist.

    Holleeder, Hout and the rest of the gang were eventually arrested after going to Paris on the run but more than US$5 million of the ransom money was never recovered.

    In 2013, Holleeder's sister Sonja, who had been married to Hout, agreed to pay the Heineken family US$1.49 million.

    And another of Holleeder's sisters, Astrid, is due to be a key witness against him at his trial.

    She has written a best-selling book in the Netherlands, Judas, and recently sold the English-language rights to it. Astrid, 51, who is herself a criminal defense lawyer, writes of her brother's role as the abuser.

    She also claims Holleeder ordered that killing and plans to testify to that effect in court.

    Holleeder also served six years of a nine-year sentence for extortion but was freed in 2012. The following year he allegedly threatened the life of Dutch crime reporter Peter de Vries.

    Astrid told the New York Times: "He will not rest until we're dead. It's about his pride. He cannot let his little sister take him down."

    Holleeder is accused of six murders and four attempted murders. Among those he is accused of murder is Willem Endstra, whose real estate business was allegedly being used for money laundering.

    Endstra, who was said to be worth 350 million euros was seen sitting with Holleeder on a bench in front of Endstra's offices only hours before he was killed.

    In 2014 the family Heineken resisted attempts to take it over from British rival SABMiller.

    Freddy Heineken's daughter Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken, 62, is a reclusive figure who is said to be worth around $10 billion.

    Earlier this year a Dutch company, Ennetcom, denied supplying encrypted Blackberries to gangsters all over the world.

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    Tags:
    crime, trial, kidnapping, gang, criminal gang, Heineken, Freddy Heineken, Willem Holleeder, Europe, Amsterdam, Netherlands
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