Expatica news

Foreign minister investigated by private detective

Right-of-centre Jean-Marie Dedecker (Lijst Dedecker liberal ) engaged the services of a private detective to investigate the alleged involvement of the Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht (Flemish liberal) in the sale-and-lease of the court building in the West Flemish town of Veurne.

Dedecker says that he decided to ask the private eye to investigate after he had received a tip off about alleged wrong-doing with the sale and lease of several court buildings.

It was alleged that the buildings were sold below their market value and that the Federal Justice Department is paying over the odds in rent for them.

It was also alleged that De Gucht is the co-owner of the company that bought the buildings.

The company is run from an off-shore tax haven.

The investigation turned up no evidence of any wrong-doing on the part of De Gucht.

"Fascist practices"

De Gucht reacted with disbelief to the news that he had been the subject of an investigation by a private detective.

He told VRT: “Even though I know Dedecker quite well I could never have imagined that he would use such practices for political ends.

“Frankly, I think that he used Gestapo tactics.

"I’ve always found Dedecker to be something of a brute, but I never thought that he would do anything like this, because, really these are fascist practices”.

However, Dedecker is unrepentant and maintains that he was only doing his duty as an MP.