28 June 2006
BRUSSELS – Intelligence services will investigate whether the law and the rights of citizens were respected when information on financial transactions made by Belgians was passed on to US authorities via the Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (Swift) as part of American anti-terrorist probes.
The Belgian government has pressed for a more detailed report on the Swift case.
Since the terrorist attacks in New York on 11 September 2001, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is looking into international financial transactions.
They do so via Swift, which keeps records of an estimated 8,000 financial institutions worldwide.
Belgian Finance Minister Didier Reynders said that, while Belgium should help in combatting international terrorism by revealing suspicious cash flows, the US authorities should have contacted their Belgian counterparts directly.
The US had informed the Belgian National Bank about its investigation, but the Belgian government was not aware of what was going on.
The government has received three reports on the case so far. The first reports show that Swift did not commit any errors.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news