Suspected crime boss says he didn't know about murders, threats against Princess Amalia
Ridouan Taghi submitted a written statement denying that he has had any involvement in the murders of the brother of key prosecution witness Nabil B., his lawyer Derk Wiersum, and crime reporter Peter R. de Vries, who was advising B. He said he also had nothing to do with the threats against Princess Amalia. Taghi is not formally accused as a suspect in those cases, but it has been repeatedly suggested that he was behind the crimes.
Taghi, now 44 years of age, was extensively heard as a witness in the heavily secured courtroom in Amsterdam-Osdorp on Friday. He testified in the criminal case against his cousin and former lawyer, Youssef T. The family member and attorney is suspected of several crimes, including the development of plans to break Taghi out of prison. Taghi is being held in pretrial detention at the maximum security penitentiary in Vught (EBI). T. was also alleged to have been the messenger between Taghi and his criminal contacts in the outside world.
All untrue, Taghi repeated several times. "Youssef is honest, has integrity and is naive. I dragged him into what has happened." Taghi was playing "games," he told the judge, and now Youssef has now become "the victim." He stated, "I was convinced I was being bugged. That's why I started telling ridiculous stories." Authorities are generally forbidden from eavesdropping on contact between an attorney and their client, and the conversations may not be recorded.
Taghi stood up on behalf of his cousin. "Youssef belongs with his children. Because of me he ended up in this misery. He has not done anything criminal." Taghi did not want to answer every question put to him, and answered none of the questions from the Public Prosecution Service.
Youssef T. (39) was arrested last October after visiting Taghi in the EBI for months, and has been in custody ever since. He himself did not appear in the bunker-style courtroom on Friday, and was represented by attorney André Seebregts. During the previous hearing at the end of September, he said that Taghi 's lawyer, Inez Weski, was also smuggling messages out of the EBI under pressure from her client.
Weski vehemently denied that, and Taghi also said this "line of parallel communication" was nonsensical. "They need to talk about the substance of their own business."
Taghi is the prime suspect in the extensive Marengo Process, the randomly chosen name assigned to a case encompassing multiple homicides, attempted murders, and murder-for-hire plots. Prosecutors demanded that Taghi serve a life sentence during closing arguments earlier this year.
In the media, he has also been associated with the murders of Reduan B., the brother of the key witness in the Marengo trial, the lawyer Derk Wiersum and Peter R. de Vries. When it emerged that Princess Amalia had recently become the subject of violent threats, Taghi was suggested as a possible culprit. He has not formally been named as a suspect in that crime.
Reporting by ANP