Tilburg coffee shop owner Johan van Laarhoven is released from the Penitentiary Institution (PI) in Vught on 28 August after a six-year prison sentence. Lawyer Gert-Jan Knoops confirms this to NU.nl after reporting NRC.
Van Laarhoven is suspected in the Netherlands of laundering drug money. He was living in Thailand when he was arrested along with his wife in 2014. In Thailand he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
The OM’s actions were criticized. In response to this criticism, Minister Ferd Grapperhaus (Justice) finally decided to bring Van Laarhoven to the Netherlands in January of this year.
In June, the court in The Hague rejected a second request for a temporary suspension of the detention of the Tilburger. Despite a critical report from the National Ombudsman, the court then found that the Public Prosecution Service (OM) did not act unlawfully in the investigation into the former coffee shop owner.
Lawyer Knoops says in conversation with NRC that the release of Van Laarhoven was opposed by the OM. “The OM in Breda has twice submitted an incorrect document stating that the early release of Van Laarhoven would be contrary to the agreements made by the judiciary with the Thai authorities. Release would put political relations with Thailand on edge,” said the Public Prosecution Service. The Ministry of Justice and Security has contradicted this, “said the lawyer.
In a response, the Public Prosecution Service in Breda tells the newspaper “not to recognize itself in the criticism.”