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A third socialist charged in fraud scandal

Published on 17/10/2005

17 October 2005

BRUSSELS – A former Belgian senator has become the third member of the francophone socialist party to be charged with defrauding a housing company.

Francis Poty, a senator from 1995 to 2004, is to be prosecuted for misusing social assets, breaching accounting laws and fraud, reported the Belgian media on Monday.

Investigations have been under way since last month into the management of the Charleroi social housing company La Caroloregienne.

Two weeks ago, the former alderman Claude Despiegeleer was charged over the scandal and taken into custody.

Last week, former alderman Andre Liesse, who also served on La Caroloregienne’s management board, was charged, but bailed until his trial.

Poty’s arrest comes after a second audit of the company revealed one of his nephews had been sacked from the company after theft allegations.

Poty was the vice-president of Caroloregienne.

The allegations that leading PS aldermen abused their positions on the board of La Caroloregienne have rocked the socialist party, leading to the resignation of Wallonia’s Minister-President Jean-Claude Van Cauwenberghe.

PS leader Elio di Rupo, who stepped into Van Cauwenberghe’s shoes, has promised a clean-up operation, saying “a social housing company is made for social housing”.

“We have to make sure we investigate this at every level, in every nook of the PS. I believe our behaviour should on all points conform to our values and we can’t justify any breach when it comes to that,” he said.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news