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Suspected drug lord behind plot against Dutch princess released in Spain – media

The Netherlands’ most-wanted criminal was allowed out on bail due to an apparent judicial lapse

A regional judge in Spain has released a presumed Moroccan mafia leader on bail, whom Dutch authorities suspect of having plotted to abduct or kill the heir apparent to the country’s throne as well as the its acting prime minister, Mark Rutte. A lapse by a higher court has effectively allowed him to escape extradition, according to media reports.

A Dutch citizen of Moroccan origin on Interpol’s most wanted list, Karim Bouyakhrichan was arrested in the Spanish city of Marbella in early January, after a years-long manhunt. The alleged crime kingpin became a high-priority target after his criminal organization threatened to kill Princess Catharina-Amalia, Princes of Orange and daughter of the Dutch King, Willem Alexander.

Dutch security services have characterized Bouyakhrichan as the “most wanted and dangerous criminal in the Netherlands.”

According to local media, the suspect also faced money laundering charges in Spain, which prompted the magistrate’s court in Marbella to remand him in custody. However, after the term elapsed within about a month, a Malaga provincial court released the supposed mafia boss on a €50,000 ($53,400) bail bond, on the condition that Bouyakhrichan hand in his passport and appear in court every 15 days.

The last time Bouyakhrichan was seen was on April 1, with the media outlet SUR quoting unnamed sources as saying the suspected drug lord had since fled Spain.

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SUR claimed the regional judge had made the decision to set the man free despite strong opposition from the prosecutor’s office.

Local media outlets have described how the Provincial Court in Malaga declined to execute a Dutch extradition order, arguing that Bouyakhrichan first had to face money laundering charges in Spain.

Amsterdam then reportedly filed a new, urgent request, with Spain’s High Court in Madrid acquiescing. However, according to the Cadena SER radio network, Judge Ismael Moreno for some reason neglected to issue a detention order that would have kept the suspected criminal boss behind bars, to secure his extradition to the Netherlands.

Cadena SER quoted anonymous police sources as saying that the judge’s dubious decision had resulted in “five years of investigation thrown to the garbage.” Unnamed Dutch security sources have described the legal mix-up to the press as an “unforgivable error.”

According to Politico, back in 2022 Dutch Princess Amalia had to be whisked away from her student campus after the authorities obtained credible evidence of the Moroccan mafia’s plans to either kidnap or murder her. Dutch outlet De Telegraaf has also alleged that caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte could be on Bouyakhrichan’s kill-list.

April 24, 2024 at 03:46PM
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