MSP claims shooting of Dutch journalist connected to Scottish organised crime

Criminals suspected of being involved in the shooting of a Dutch journalist have links to organised crime in Scotland, a journalist turned MSP has claimed.

This picture taken in Amsterdam on July 7, 2021 shows flowers in support of Peter de Vries.

Russell Findlay, who was a reporter before being voted in as a Conservative MSP in May’s Holyrood election, has lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament paying tribute to Peter R de Vries, a prominent journalist known for investigating the criminal underworld who was shot and seriously wounded in Amsterdam earlier this week.

Mr de Vries had been acting as an adviser to a former gang member who is testifying against Ridouan Taghi – said to have been one of the most wanted men in the Netherlands before being arrested in Dubai two years ago.

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Mr Findlay claimed Taghi has links to a major Scottish gang, which is also linked to the Irish Kinahan drugs gang.

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The MSP said: “Over the past 15 years, at least one Scottish organised crime group has forged alliances with both the Taghi and Kinahan international drug trafficking gangs. The leader of the Glasgow-based gang fled Scotland for his own safety 15 years ago and ended up in Marbella where these connections were made and have flourished.

“Peter R de Vries was targeted because he was effectively exposing and disrupting these cowardly criminals. It should concern everyone that a journalist in a western European democracy can be targeted by organised crime.

“I have lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament paying tribute to his courage and urging the authorities to crack down on these gangs. I hope that Mr de Vries makes a full recovery and that those responsible are brought to justice.”

The 64-year-old was shot minutes after leaving a TV studio on Wednesday, where he had appeared on a chat show. He is famed for his work on exposing mobsters and drug lords, and has helped Dutch police solve a number of high-profile cases.

Hours after the attack, two men were arrested in a car on the A4 motorway at Leidschendam – a 35-year-old Polish national living in Maurik and a 21-year-old man living in Rotterdam. They will face court on Friday. A third man was also arrested, but police say is no longer a suspect.

Mr de Vries was previously given police protection after receiving threats for his involvement in criminal cases as an investigative journalist. In 2019 he tweeted that police had told him he was on the hit list of the Netherlands' most wanted criminal.

The mayor of Amsterdam, Femke Halsema, described Mr de Vries as "a national hero to us all" and as "a rare, courageous journalist who tirelessly sought justice".

Mr Findlay has also been targeted in the past for his investigative journalism, surviving an acid attack outside his Glasgow home.

Currently his parliamentary motion, which pays tribute to the Dutch journalist and also calls for "Police Scotland, the National Crime Agency and other agencies based in the UK and elsewhere to work together to disrupt and prosecute those involved in organised crime which causes significant harm to communities” has been signed cross-party by 14 MSPs.

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