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New arrest in Belgian army scandal

Published on 07/05/2004

7 May 2004

BRUSSELS – Yet another person has been arrested in connection with a huge fraud scandal that has seen the Belgian army swindled out of millions of euros.

La Derniere Heure newspaper reported on Friday that a Liege architect, Paul Fleisheur, was arrested on his return from holiday in Guadeloupe and charged with preparing over a hundred fake bills that he sent to the Belgian army.

The 120 bills, for services Fleisheur allegedly never provided, amounted to around EUR 1 million. 

The Belgian army apparently paid the sum without questioning the invoices.

Fleisheur is set to appear in front of a Brussels court on Monday.

The Liege architect is the 28th person to be arrested in connection with the scandal.

To date 18 soldiers and ten civilians – including Fleisheur – have been linked to the affair.

The army personnel arrested include two majors, a lieutenant colonel and six sergeants.

According to investigators the fraud, which has been going on for several years, essentially worked in two ways.

Firstly it is alleged army officers and civilians who were involved with the scandal conspired to draw up fake bills that were presented to the army for non-existent goods or services.

The proceeds from these bills were then distributed among the alleged fraudsters.

The second element of the fraud involved real goods that were, on the face of it, bought for the army but that ended up being shared out among the members of the fraud ring.

Goods bought in this way allegedly included hi-fi systems, lawn mowers and fitted kitchens.

The scandal has proved a huge embarrassment to Belgian Defence Minister Andre Flahaut, who has said that the fraudsters actions have damaged the reputations of thousands of honest hard-working army personnel.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news