Belgium premier 'shocked' by magazine accusations
Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme on Tuesday denied reports in a weekly tabloid that he agreed to arrange a ministry job for an alleged mistress while serving as foreign minister.
"Yves Leterme is shocked by the interview and report published today by the weekly 'Story'. He firmly denies the content," his spokesman told AFP.
Story, a Dutch-language weekly from northern Flanders with a focus on people, VIPs, royals and entertainment, said Leterme had sent 849 text messages to a woman from Antwerp who it alleged was his mistress in late 2009 and early 2010 while serving as foreign minister.
The tabloid said some of the messages were of a private nature.
The woman, whose identity was kept secret, told the paper that "Yves arranged a job at the foreign ministry."
Flemish daily Het Laatste Nieuws cited Leterme, who is from Flanders, as being "stunned" by the report and saying he had been contacted at the time by a woman at his party premises who had asked his help in finding a job.
"I suggested she apply at the foreign ministry as we were then offering 40 to 60 temporary positions ahead of Belgium taking over the rotating EU presidency" in the second half of 2010.
"But I understood that finally she didn't," he told the paper. "This lady is not entirely balanced."
© 2011 AFP