Trial begins in “Underworld Banker” Willem Endstra’s murder
The trial on real estate magnate Willem Endstra's murder started in the court in Amsterdam on Monday, more than 11 years after he was assassinated. Three men are standing trial - 31 year old Ali N., 35 year old Ozgur C. and 41 year old Ziya G. The Public Prosecutor believes they were involved in committing the murder. Notorious criminal Willem Holleeder is suspected of ordering the assassination, but his involvement will be handled in a separate trial.
Only two of the three suspects are currently in custody, according to NU. N. and C. were first arrested in 2006, but then released due to a lack of evidence. They were arrested again in 2011. G. has never been in police custody in connection with this case. He is currently living in Turkey and is not present at the hearing on Monday. The trio is also suspected of attempted murder of one of Endstra's business partners.
It is believed that Russian man Namik Abbasov was the actual shooter in the Endstra assassination. He died in prison in 2012 at the age of 47.
The trial started at 9:30 a.m. on Monday. A verdict is expected on January 18th.
In 2002 Willem Endstra was one of the largest and most successful real estate dealers in the Netherlands, according to the Telegraaf. His business started to crumble in August 2002 when criminal kingpin John Mieremet revealed that Endstra was heavily involved in laundering criminal money and was known as the "underworld banker". Holleeder was known as the banker's protection, according to Mieremet.
Endstra desperately tried to turn the tied, even going so far as to offer Hell's Angels leader Willem van Boxtel a million euros to have Holleeder blown up, according to the newspaper. He also had many a conversation with the police about his role in the underworld and his contacts with Holleeder and Dino Soerel.
Presumably Holleeder found out about these conversations with the police, Endstra was assassinated in front of his office on Apollolaan on May 17th, 2004. His business partner, David Denneboom, was severely injured.
The question remains on whether the Public Prosecutor has enough evidence to convict the three suspects currently standing trial. According to the Telegraaf, the evidence primarily consists of traces found at the crime scene, witness statements and a statement by key witness Hidr K. According to K.'s statement, the three suspects received the order to kill Endstra from Holleeder, Soerel and Hillis.