Ridouan Taghi informed Hans Werdmölder that he did not want to collaborate on a book about him. But when he heard that the book was coming, Taghi wanted to inspect it before it was published. Hans Werdmölder was unable to comply with that request.
Ridouan Taghi is the main suspect in the great Marengo trial. He is suspected of leading a criminal organization, ordering six murders, four attempted murders and preparing liquidations. Moreover, there is a strong suspicion that he, from the Extra Secure Institution (EBI) in Vught, would have given orders to commit three murders in the upper world. However, this has not yet been proven.
Taghi also made a serious attempt to escape through his cousin, the lawyer Yoessef Taghi. In Dubai, when he was still a free man, he already gave orders to his two sons to do this. His ‘top advisor’ Inez Weski also got into trouble at the end of the ride. She is suspected of having passed on secret information and has been temporarily removed from the register by the Rotterdam Dean of Lawyers.
Request for a personal meeting
The Public Prosecution Service has underestimated the suspect Ridouan Taghi for a long time and has, at least in my opinion, been very naive. Only after the murder of the key witness’s lawyer, Derk Wiersum, did the Public Prosecution Service come to light. Before that, a murder had already been committed of the brother of key witness Nabil B. Taghi is also constantly in the news. Even the postponement of the court’s decision on the final verdict in this lawsuit made the news on radio and TV. Ridouan Taghi is, in short, a criminal of the highest order.
His performance aroused my curiosity. I previously conducted long-term research among criminal Moroccan boys in Amsterdam. That was an important reason for me to research and write a book about Taghi. This also included my written request to Taghi, through his new lawyer Michael Ruperti, for a personal meeting and one or more conversations.
When making this request, I had the example of my former colleague Frank Bovenkerk in mind. Bovenkerk once made a similar request to the criminal ‘money launderer’ Bettien Martens. On September 24, 1992, Martens was arrested in Rome, accompanied by two top figures of the Colombian drug cartels. Martens soon proved willing pentito, an Italian regretter, to take action against her former business partners. In return, she could count on a reduced sentence and a new identity.
This move transformed Martens from an admired strong woman to a despised international celebrity nicknamed ‘the queen of money laundering’. Bettine Martens responded positively to his written request. In this way, Frank Bovenkerk was able to write a very well-selling book, entitled La Bella Bettien. The book is informative, but it lacks the ‘thriller effect’ about this remarkable lady. A film has also been released about her life with the actress Thekla Reuten in the leading role.
Crime stories are also a form of infotainment. A large number of biographies have been written about famous American mafiosi. I am thinking, for example, of Gay Talese’s great book, Honor thy father (1971; 1981), an unauthorized biography about Joe Bonanno and his family. Sharply cut Italian suits and flashy parties were not for this mafia boss. He also valued his privacy. The book was promoted as ‘A book about a vanishing way of life in America’.
I also mention the journalist Laurence Bergreen, who in 1994 wrote a voluminous, critically acclaimed biography about the criminal businessman and ‘bootlegger’ Al Capone. In the process, Bergreen writes in the afterword of her book Capone. The Man and the EraI no longer had an eye for the conventional schemas about guilt and innocence, about good and bad. ‘Time and again, I found the good guys behaved like bad guys, and the bad guys behaved like good guys.‘
Letter to Taghi
Several Dutch journalists have also focused on the lives of Dutch crime leaders. All of these authors have struggled with the omertàthe code of absolute silence, the fragile cooperation of the surviving protagonist and the unwillingness of family members to provide certain details.
But now my letter to Ridouan Taghi. In this I introduced myself as someone who has done years of research among Moroccan criminal boys. I knew that Taghi was part of the Utrecht youth gang in his youth Bad Boys. I then presented my plan to him. I quote myself: ‘I would like to write a book about you and your life. You are regularly in the news, usually not in a positive way. Much is being written about you in the context of the Marengo process. People know you from the media and only from apps with messages about deadly violence (‘letting you sleep’). I would also like to highlight your other, unknown side in the book I am writing. Ridouan Taghi as an individual and human being. Virtually nothing is known about who you really are. For example, I would like to know more about your backgrounds and motivations, your stay and activities in Morocco, Spain, Suriname and Dubai. It must be a complete biography.’
I purposely did not bring up the topic of his family and relatives. Of course I was very interested in that, but my guess was that he would immediately put on his spines. I also wrote: ‘The first thing is that it will not be a sensational story. I am a scientist and, as mentioned, I write objectively. I don’t judge, I state. I have previously had experience writing biographies. For example, in 2021 I wrote a lengthy biography about sociology professor and Americanist ANJ den Hollander. This was well received.’
I then let him know that I would like to meet him and, if there was a click between us, I would like to have substantive discussions with him.
I had my letter delivered through his new attorney Michael Ruperti. Perhaps it is worth noting that I would never have put this request to his predecessor, Inez Weski. She would have rejected something like that immediately, that was my guess. By telephone, Ruperti informed me that his client’s response was short and sweet. “He doesn’t want to participate.” Of course, this negative message was not entirely unexpected. My motto was: ‘If you don’t shoot, you’re always wrong.’
Hearing both sides?
My book about top criminal Ridioauan Tgahi is therefore not a complete biography. When writing, I concentrated on the extensive Marengo process and the role of Ridouan Taghi in it. Just before the publication of my book, I received an email from Michael Ruperti. He informed me that his client had heard that a book about him was in the works. Taghi wanted to read the manuscript before it would be published, in the interests of hearing both sides of the argument. I replied that the upcoming book is written based on open sources and free news gathering. Unfortunately I was unable to comply with his request; moreover, the book was already on its way to the printer. The title reads: The Ridouan T case. The career of a top criminal.
Hans Werdmolderis a criminologist and anthropologist. He is, among other things, the biographer of Prof ANJ den Hollander:Den Hollander – Contrary figurehead of Dutch sociology. The book is published by Uitgeverij Blauwburgwal.
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