Unusual accident kills witness set to testify against organised crime leader

Willem Holleeder (Picture: Twitter/@o2377)Willem Holleeder (Picture: Twitter/@o2377)

A witness set to testify against Dutch criminal kingpin Willem Holleeder, was killed in a bizarre accident in Eastern Europe on Sunday. According to AT5, Hidr Korkmaz was electrocuted while fishing - his line hit an electricity pole when he cast it.

The Public Prosecutor in Amsterdam confirmed Korkmaz's death to the broadcaster. "The local government assumes a tragic accident. We do not doubt that, but we can not confirm it", a spokesperson said to AT5. 

Korkmaz used to be a drug trafficker and had a good network in the Amsterdam underworld, according to the broadcaster. He was previously a key witness in the trail against three men suspected of murdering real estate magnate Willem Endstra in 2004. These suspects were acquitted.

The Dutch-Turkish man was also a witness in the still ongoing trial against Willem Holleeder. He told the authorities that Holleeder ordered several assassinations, working closely with Stanley Hills and Dino Soerel. The Public Prosecutor considered Korkmaz to be a reliable witness, as he didn't ask for money or a lesser punishment, but only for protection. The spokesperson for the Prosecutor would not tell AT5 whether Korkmaz was still under the protection of the Dutch authorities when he was killed. 

The Public Prosecutor does not think that Korkmaz's death will have consequences for the evidence against Holleeder. "For the moment, we assume that there are no major negative effects", a spokesperson said to the broadcaster.

Holleeder's lawyer Sander Janssen regrets Korkmaz's death, he said to AT5. A number of Korkmaz's statements are already part of the file against Holleeder, but he still had to be questioned, the lawyer said. "It is important to see in a direct questioning how the witness made agreements influenced his statements and how reliable those statements are. We now have less opportunity to test the accuracy, and that is always detrimental to finding the truth."


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