Belgian police suspect corruption within judicial system
Belgian judicial police suspect a web of corruption among senior magistrates and fear that a wall of silence and deliberate obscurity is hampering their enquiries, it emerged on Thursday.
Justice Minister Stefaan De Clerck confirmed that he had received a letter regarding these suspicions from the police and "immediately charged the competent judicial authority to investigate the issues raised in the letter," a ministerial spokesperson said.
If the full police dossier, which has reportedly been hidden from the public for years, were to appear in the media, “the consequences for the credibility of the magistracy are incalculable," De Tijd reported.
The document could shed some light on some of the biggest Belgian economic judicial cases in recent years, such as the sudden demise of Sabena Airlines in 2001, and the more recent saga of BNP Paribas' purchase of the Belgian assets of the failed Fortis financial group, the paper added.
Moreover, the police suspect that the Brussels prosecutor's office and the Supreme Court want to hamper their enquiries in order to protect magistrates, notably in the court of appeal.
Frustrated at the lack of cooperation, the police felt they had no choice but to go straight to the justice minister, De Tijd reported.
Minister De Clerck "will closely follow the matter. The enquiry is being carried out, no comment on the dossier can be made at present," the justice ministry said in a statement.