Prosecutor to compensate extortion case victims for leaking their addresses
The Public Prosecution Service (OM) will compensate over 100 victims in the extortion case surrounding the fruit trader De Groot in Hedel for leaking their address details to criminals. The amount of the compensation was not disclosed, AD reports based on revelations from author Yelle Tieleman in his new book De Hedelse afpersingszaak.
The OM accidentally added a list of names and addresses of 350 employees and former employees of De Groot to the criminal file in the case against a group of suspects accused of extorting the company following a botched cocaine import. The fruit trader’s lawyer, Taco van der Dussen, discovered the blunder in the autumn of 2019. The suspects arrested for extorting the fruit trader also received copies of their files, including the list of employees’ names and addresses.
After Van Dassen sounded the alarm, all suspects but one returned the information. Ali G., who got 20 years in prison for the extortion operation last year, kept the list of addresses.
What followed was a series of explosions and shootings at De Groot employees’ homes, mainly in the Bommelerwaard but also in Rosmalen and Vlijmen. And each attack could be traced back to addresses on the list accidentally provided to the suspects in the extortion case. The police ended up putting nearly 400 De Groot employees under protection.
Over 100 affected De Groot employees and former employees submitted a claim for compensation to the Board of Attorneys General, a body that monitors the functioning of the OM. They demanded compensation for material damages caused by shootings and explosions and the costs of setting up extra security like surveillance cameras at their homes. They also want compensation for the years of debilitating uncertainty and fear they’ve been living with.
The Board ruled in their favor and ordered the OM to pay compensation. The amount was not disclosed.