Natalee Holloway Case: Dutch Poker Player, Murderer Extradited to US on Extortion Charge

Joran van der Sloot, the one-time poker player and prime suspect in the disappearance of American woman Natalee Holloway, is to be extradited to the United States on extortion and wire fraud charges.

Natalee Holloway, Joran van der Sloot
Joran van der Sloot in custody in Peru prior to his sentence for the murder of Stephany Flores. He will be extradited to the US, where he is suspected of killing Natalee Holloway. (Image: Dinko Eichin/UPI)

The 35-year-old Dutchman is currently in a maximum-security prison in Peru where he is serving a 28-year sentence for the murder of another woman, Peruvian national Stephany Flores. He met her at a card table at the Atlantic City Casino in Lima.

Holloway was 18 when she went missing on a senior class trip in Aruba in May 2005. She encountered van der Sloot in a bar on the island and was last seen leaving in a car with him and two brothers, Deepak Kalpoe and Satish Kalpoe.

All three were arrested and questioned twice but were never charged due to lack of evidence. Without a body, it was difficult to build a case. But van der Sloot appeared to admit to involvement in Holloway’s disappearance on two separate occasions to different undercover journalists.

Holloway was declared dead by a US judge in January 2012.

Sick Extortion Scam

In 2010, federal authorities in Birmingham, Ala. filed extortion and wire fraud charges against the Dutchman. They allege he contacted Holloway’s mother, Beth Holloway, and offered to reveal the whereabouts of her daughter’s body in return for an advance of $25K against a total of $250K.

The advance was paid, but the information provided was false. Van der Sloot claimed the body was buried in the foundations of a house in Aruba, but authorities determined that the property had been built sometime after her disappearance.

Spotty Poker Career

Van der Sloot described himself as a professional poker player on his YouTube channel and was a member of the PocketFives online poker community. He never recorded a single live cash, according to the Hendon Mob Database.

In 2009, he played in PokerStars’ Latin America Poker Tour in Peru, as well as its Asian Poker Tour in Macau. That same year, he competed in a Partypoker $300K guaranteed tournament, winning $12K.

A year later, he bludgeoned Stephany Flores, a student from a prominent Peruvian family to death in a hotel room. The killing occurred five years to the day after Holloway’s disappearance.

On Thursday, van der Sloot’s attorney, Maximo Altez, told the Associated Press that he would fight his client’s extradition once he had received the documentation from the Peruvian government.

“I am going to challenge that resolution,” Altez said. “I am going to oppose it since he has the right to a defense.”

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