Bank robbery in EU parliament building
Details about how a robber held up an ING bank branch inside the European Parliament remain sketchy as searches are being carried out in all three buildings.BRUSSELS – A robber held up an ING bank branch inside the European Parliament building in Brussels on Thursday, after evading the institution's security system, spokesmen said.
"There has been a robbery at the small branch on the building's ground floor. Someone entered on their own and brandished a weapon," parliament spokesman Jaume Duch told AFP.
"We still don't know whether it was a real weapon or a fake one but it was enough to make staff hand over the cash that was in their drawer," he added.
There was no word on the amount stolen in the afternoon robbery.
After the robber fled, staff alerted the assembly's security service, some of whom were already patrolling nearby.
Searches were being carried out in all three European Parliament buildings in central Brussels.
"There are cameras all over the building, so there's a chance..," said Duch.
"Now the entire building is in lock-down. I've got people texting me telling me they can't get out. There's a helicopter flying overhead," one parliamentary assistant said.
An ING spokesman said the bank was seeking more information on exactly what happened.
"If it was a real firearm that would pose questions. Notably to know what badge he used to get in," said Duch, adding that it was too soon to draw any conclusions about the parliament's security.
Euro MP Nigel Farage, head of the UK Independence Party said he was delighted to hear that no one was injured in the bank heist but poked fun at the European Commission's recent concerns over security,
"A day after the whole EU institutional structure got excited about the prospect of long-legged blonde-haired Mata Haris wandering around the place, a real live crime happened under its very nose. It really doesn't say much for the security system now does it?" he asked.
The European Commission had said on Wednesday that its security services were on alert as "the threat of espionage against the commission is increasing day by day."
"It could be the pretty trainee with the long legs and the blonde hair," a commission spokesman had joked.
[AFP / Expatica]