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Notorious Dutch Crime Boss Done In by His Own Sister

'New Yorker' story digs into tale of Astrid Holleeder, now in hiding in Amsterdam
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2018 4:03 AM CDT
   (DanHenson1)

(Newser) – Astrid Holleeder owns a bullet-proof car, two bullet-proof vests, and a large collection of fake noses and teeth, though she rarely ventures outside in her native Amsterdam. The reason for the 52-year-old's life in the shadows? She is the star witness in a murder trial against "The Nose," who is perhaps the top gangster in the Netherlands and, more to the point, the older brother of Astrid. The Nose's real name is Willem Holleeder, and a story by Patrick Radden Keefe at the New Yorker details Astrid's wrenching decision in 2013 to turn against her brother and begin secretly recording him. "This is the ultimate betrayal," a sobbing Astrid told the court in March. But "if you have a very sweet dog that bites children, you have to choose the children, and put the dog down.”

The talking of putting down is apt: Willem is accused of unsuccessfully trying to organize a crew from prison to execute his sister, while she is matter-of-fact about what she'd do if by chance he is not convicted: “I’ll have to kill him,” she says. “I should have done it years ago.” The trial is riveting the Netherlands, in part because of Willem's notoriety: In the 1980s, he and a colleague (one he would later be accused of killing) kidnapped the patriarch of the Heineken beer family. While they were eventually busted, the pair reportedly managed to keep $8 million of the ransom, which they used to invest in more crime operations. Astrid, for her part, has chronicled her version of events in a best-selling memoir called Judas. Click to read the full story, in which another sister in the family has joined Astrid in this "ultimate betrayal." (Read more Longform stories.)

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