New witness in murder of journalist Peter R. de Vries links shooting to crime boss Ridouan Taghi
A new witness in the case regarding the murder of Peter R. de Vries told authorities that the crime reporter was assassinated because of his work against Ridouan Taghi, according to RTL Nieuws. The theory was long suspected by prosecutors in the Netherlands, but the statement from the new witness is believed to be the first time someone connected to the case has explicitly confirmed the hypothesis. De Vries had been assisting Nabil B., the prosecution’s key witness in the Marengo Process, when the journalist was shot in Amsterdam. De Vries died in a hospital on July 15, nine days after the shooting.
“Because he, the journalist, helped the key witness in the case against that Moroccan man,” said the new witness in the case, known as Witness 5089, according to RTL Nieuws. The statement alludes to De Vries’s work advising B. in the Marengo case, the name for the ongoing criminal trial against alleged organized crime leader Ridouan Taghi and several accomplices. They stand accused in a series of murders and assassination attempts.
The broadcaster said it received access to a copy of the previously undisclosed statement, though the identity of Witness 5089 was not revealed in the case file. The person gave their statement based on information they obtained from Krystian M., the 27-year-old Polish man who became the third suspect placed in custody one year after the murder took place. The new witness came forward out of concern for their safety after M.’s crew allegedly tried to order the person to kidnap two children.
Up until his shooting, De Vries had been advising B. in the case. “Marengo” is the randomly assigned name for the ongoing criminal trial against alleged organized crime leader Ridouan Taghi and several accomplices accused in a series of murders and assassination attempts.
M. is suspected of orchestrating the murder. Delano G. is currently on trial for the murder. Witness 5089 stated G. was to receive 100,000 euros for killing De Vries. His co-defendant, Kamil E., was to receive 50,000 euros for acting as the getaway driver after the homicide, RTL Nieuws reported. Both were arrested in a stolen car shortly after De Vries was shot. Like Krystian M., Kamil E. is also from Poland.
“Krystian M. has been looking for a man for his ‘uncle’ since April. He calls him his uncle. It is a Moroccan man for whom Krystian works. He was looking for someone who would shoot a journalist," Witness 5089 told police, according to RTL Nieuws.
The witness went on to say the “uncle” is someone “who killed the brother and the lawyer the key witness.” Nabil B.’s brother was murdered one week after prosecutors disclosed the identity of their key witness. B.’s attorney, Derk Wiersum, was gunned down in front of his home in October 2019. Two people were convicted in that case and sentenced to 30 years behind bars.
Witness 5089 said that Krystian M. never revealed the identity of his “uncle,” but the witness pieced it together from statements M. had made.
Closing arguments were already presented in the criminal case against Delano G. and Kamil E. The court was expected to issue a verdict on July 14, but it reopened the case to allow attorneys to debate new documents prosecutors filed earlier this month. An additional hearing was scheduled for Monday, and another court session may take place on July 14, though it is not clear if the verdict will be delayed. Prosecutors recommended a conviction and life sentence for both men.
Shortly after M. was arrested, authorities also took two more people into custody. The men were arrested in Spain and Curacao, and were accused of participating in the assassination of De Vries by filming it and the immediate aftermath. Those three arrests were confirmed by the Public Prosecution Service.
Another person was arrested the same day as M., according to the Telegraaf. That arrest has not been officially confirmed.