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Trade union in membership scandal probe

Published on 04/02/2005

4 February 2005

BRUSSELS – Senior officials at Belgian trade union FGTB Metal are under investigation over the disappearance of thousands of euros.

The Belgian media reported on Friday that the police raided the Vilvorde offices of FGTB on Thursday morning, seizing several hundreds of duplicate membership forms.

Brussels’ public prosecutor Michel Claise believes membership benefits were claimed more than once for some members, for dead members or for workers who were not affiliated to FGTB.

No one has yet been charged with the alleged fraud, which is believed to have taken place from 1989 to 1999, and involved stealing funds provided to the union from Sabena, the now bankrupt airline.

FGTB president Andre Mordant said he hoped the investigation would shed light on exactly who was responsible.

It is understood that investigations began when an FGTB pensioner, who was working in a voluntary capacity as an accountant for the union, complained he had been forced to sign a declaration that he had defrauded the Sabena to the tune of 5 million Belgian francs (around EUR 125,000).

He went to the police after realising that the unionists who had asked him to sign the document had started legal proceedings to recover the money he had allegedly stolen.

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian news