Belgian Foreign Minister Under Investigation for Corruption
Belgian authorities are investigating the country’s Foreign Minister who is suspected of corruption and money laundering related to several government contracts, local media reported on Sunday.
De Tijd, the Brussels public prosecutor's office opened an investigation against Didier Reynders after a former secret agent accused him of bribery connected to a number of government deals, such as the construction of the Belgian embassy in DR Congo.According to
The former agent also reported other bribes related to arms dealers and Congolese presidential elections, naming individuals and companies involved in various frauds.
The agent said that the money was received or laundered by selling high-value works of art and antiquities at excessive prices. He claimed that an antiquarian told him that he provided services to Reynders that allowed him to allegedly launder a bit less than one million US dollars.
He also reported suspicious real estate transactions and the use of shell companies, saying that Reynders’ counselor became the owner of many properties he could not afford based on his official income.
Reynders, who is running for the post of the European Commissioner for Justice, hired a team of lawyers and denied all allegations against him. He also said he was ‘’absolutely unaware of an investigation.”
When asked if he was worried, the FM answered "that it is never pleasant" to be accused but that he "hopes that the clarity will be made as soon as possible."
John Hendrickx, Reynders spokesperson said he believes the allegations were fabricated by “evil” people.
Prosecutors have said that the investigation is ongoing and will subsequently announce whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed against the FM. If a case is opened, it will be handled by the Brussels public prosecutor because Reynders is a minister.