Willem Holleeder: paying or being attached?

Organisations such as the magazine Nieuwe Revu, television programme Nova College Tour and watch maker Otumm have received a great deal of criticism for paying infamous Heineken kidnapper Willem Holleeder for columns, interviews and advertisements.

However, the fact is that Holleeder owes 17.9 million euros to the government in repayment of the money he earned through criminal activities. He will have to earn the money somehow.

If someone fails to pay you, you can have the court order him to make payment. Such an order amounts to the court giving permission to recover your debt – with the bailiff acting as the sword of justice – out of all (or almost all) the debtor’s property.

Not only can possessions such as a house, car or jewellery be sold to ensure you get your money, you can also have an attachment placed on any money due to your debtor, for example from a bank, employer or benefits agency.

An attachment means that the other party can only be released from their obligation to the debtor by making payment to you. If any payment is made to your debtor in spite of this (for example, by a bank or employer) you can require the payment to be made again, but this time to you, as though the payment to the debtor had not taken place. No-one can get out of complying with an attachment.

If a businessman has a series of changing customers, it’s often difficult to know who owes him money. This information isn’t published in the newspapers, unless the businessman in question is a celebrity, like Willem Holleeder. So the public prosecutor should seize the chance to get an attachment in place.

Keep in touch with your debtors, so you can monitor where they get their money. If you are aware that your debtor has valuable property or you know where he works, you can impose an attachment before you issue proceedings. This will significantly increase your chances of getting your money if the court grants your claim.