Expatica news

‘Secret bank account’ affair flares up again

15 April 2005

BRUSSELS – Liege’s top prosecutor is demanding that a member of the French-speaking socialist party accused years ago of keeping a secret bank account be stripped of his parliamentary immunity.

If the accused, Patrick Moriau, loses the privilege, he could finally be forced to face trial on 1998 charges that he used party funds for personal use while serving as its secretary-general.

Specifically, Moriau been accused of putting some EUR 625,000 into a secret bank account after taking over as the party’s secretary-general.

The cash was allegedly linked to the so called ‘Agusta affair’ which saw the socialist party mired in a kickbacks scandal surrounding a shady contract to buy helicopters for the Belgian armed forces.

Moriau allegedly received the money from his predecessor and put it into a secret Luxembourg bank account.

A while later, he allegedly use the funds for on different real estate expenses and gave a portion to South African leader Nelson Mandela, without keeping records of any transactions.

Formally accused in 1998, Moriau was re-elected to the Belgian parliament and as a result granted parliamentary immunity.

In 2001 Anne Thily, Liege’s prosecutor general at the time, asked that the immunity be lifted and that Moriau be sent back to a correctional court. However, she believed that this request became invalidated as a result of the May 2003 elections.

In February, Liege’s current top prosecutor, Cedric Visart de Bocarme, has made a new request to remove Moriau’s immunity and is still waiting for a response.

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian news