Holland’s most notorious gangster was jailed for life on Thursday, 4 July, for ordering the murder of five people, including Cor Van Hout, his accomplice in the crime which made his name - the 1980s kidnapping of a Heineken beer tycoon.
Willem Holleeder, 61, was also convicted of ordering the “liquidation” of Willem Endstra, an underworld banker, in Amsterdam, gangster John Mieremet in Thailand, building contractor Kees Houtman, and associate Thomas van der Bijl between 2004 and 2006.
Endstra, who was said to be worth 350 million euros, was seen sitting with Holleeder on a bench in front of Endstra's office only hours before he was killed.
— Brian White (@brwh70) 4 July 2019
Sentencing him, the judges said Holleeder "had an unscrupulous and indifferent attitude to life and death."
They said: "His violence has led to close relatives only having the courage to testify when they, too, saw no other way out. The court comes to the conclusion that there is a great risk of repeated violent criminal offences and that a life sentence is therefore appropriate."
In 2015 Holleeder tried to prevent the film, The Kidnapping of Freddy Heineken, being distributed in the Netherlands because he was 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.
— Tammie (@TammieTreurReep) 4 July 2019
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, was 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 defence lawyer, writes of her brother's role as the abuser.
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.