Monday 29 May 2017

Gangster bids to block kidnap film

Actor Rutger Hauer in character as Freddy Heineken in The Heineken Kidnapping (A-Film)
Actor Rutger Hauer in character as Freddy Heineken in The Heineken Kidnapping (A-Film)

One of the Netherlands' best-known gangsters has launched legal action to stop the release of a film about the 1983 kidnapping and ransom of beer tycoon Freddy Heineken.

Willem Holleeder, who played a key role in the kidnapping, claims it misrepresents him.

Holleeder, dubbed The Nose, was sentenced to 11 years for his part in Mr Heineken's ordeal in 1986.

Holleeder sued film-makers from his cell in the high-security prison where he is serving a new nine-year sentence in an unrelated extortion case. The Justice Ministry did not grant him leave to appear in the courtroom.

Producer IDTV Film argued the Dutch-language film The Heineken Kidnapping, which cost £4 million to make and stars Rutger Hauer as Heineken, is a fictionalised version of events.

They said halting it days before its scheduled October 24 opening in Amsterdam would be financially ruinous.

Holleeder, now 53, is not named in the film, and film-makers merged his character with that of another of the four real-life kidnappers - though one of the actors resembles Holleeder physically.

Holleeder's lawyers say the film portrays the kidnappers as more violent than they actually were, and it will damage Holleeder's attempts to reintegrate with society once he is released.

The film's director Maarten Treurniet said Holleeder's suit has no merit. "He suffered the bulk of the damage to his reputation when he kidnapped Heineken: this is peanuts by comparison," Mr Treurniet said.

Court spokeswoman Annemieke Jeuring said judges will have to give a summary verdict before the film's release on Monday.

Press Association

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