It was the largest repository of crime money ever found in our country. It was in an apartment in the center of Eindhoven. 12.5 million euros was hidden there. And there has been much more. Zakaria S. (36) from Veghel was the big man behind the money warehouse. The court found that he was guilty of money laundering and ordered him to go to prison for seven years.
Specialists from the National Police Unit tracked down the repository while hacking into Encrochat. That was an encrypted chat service that was mainly used by Dutch criminals.
Investigators discovered that people from the underworld were up to something in an apartment on the Paradijslaan in Eindhoven. On May 1, 2020 they invaded. Inside was a man who had previously lived in Veghel but was no longer registered anywhere. He ate and slept in the apartment, that much was clear.
5 and 500 . notes
When the officers searched the building, they came across a hidden room with about fifteen ordinary big shoppers from Albert Heijn, Zeeman and Action behind it. But the content was unusual. The bags were crammed with banknotes: notes of 5 but also of 500 euros. The banknotes together weighed 255 kilos.
The guard had a cell phone that was easy to open. The access code was his date of birth. In that mobile, officers found all kinds of messages from anonymous persons with names such as en Delta, cookie monster and gongonza. A total of five ‘crypto names’ were found.
Uncle Scrooge’s Warehouse
The guard who ‘lived’ in the apartment was brought to court and was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison. The court president called the apartment Uncle Scrooge’s Warehouse.
The police continued to investigate and discovered who gongonza used to be. A man who originally also came from Veghel: Zakaria S. The guard in the apartment and S. knew each other from the past from Veghel.
S. was known to the police, he had a criminal record for drug trafficking. De Veghelaar turned out to live alternately in Malaga (Spain) and Morocco. He was arrested and tried in the Netherlands. In July, the Public Prosecution Service demanded seven years in prison and a 50,000 euro fine against him before the court in Rotterdam.
His accounts in the crypto telephones indicated that there may have been a lot more money hidden previously, perhaps as much as 32 million euros.
The court ruled that S. had a ‘critical and coordinating role’. S. is not finished with seven years. He had previously been convicted of drug trafficking in Den Bosch and received a suspended sentence there. That was 487 days. He still has to sit that one out.
The police are still investigating this money depot. At least two other suspects have been identified and named during the trial. They may still face criminal charges. But it seems there are more people in the picture. The Public Prosecution Service says it still has couriers in mind, a ‘stash builder’ and also a real estate man.
It is still unclear where exactly the money came from. Was it profit from international cocaine smuggling, which the Public Prosecution Service is thinking of, or the pill world in Brabant? The owners of the capital have remained unknown to this day.