Belgium Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders said that he was not aware of a preliminary judicial inquiry against him following allegations of corruption and money laundering.
After a preliminary investigation, the public prosecutor must decide whether there are sufficient indications against Reynders whether or not to forward the file to the Brussels public prosecutor general, because Reynders is a Minister.
De Tijd newspaper was able to view the official report drawn up by the police about the interrogation of the former State Security agent. It states that from 1 March 2007 to 1 March 2018 the man worked for State Security, especially in the economic section. In this position, the former secret agent claims to have become acquainted with various corruption and money laundering practices through informants and research work.
In his interrogation, the ex-secret agent refers, among other things, to a series of government contracts and government purchases, such as the construction of the Belgian Embassy in Kinshasa, which, according to him, involved bribes. Among other things, he made statements about bribery by arms dealers and a Congolese election candidate.
The secret agent’s accusations were also directed against a long-standing confidant of Reynders, who was also an adviser to his cabinet.
“Perhaps this is again a montage of the same evil man who keeps trying to damage,” reacts John Hendrickx, Reynders spokesperson. This month Reynders has been nominated as a EU Commissioner by Ursula von der Leyen. Along with the other candidates he is awaiting the approval of the European Parliament.
The EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini participated in a #EBS2018 debate on the changing role of the European Union at global stage, and challenges to bloc’s defence of a multilateral rules based international order. Mogerini took floor at the European Business Summit in Brussels #EBS2018 together with her Belgium counterpart Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs of Belgium Didier Reynders. “The EU awareness of its own role has changed… in the past couple of years”, – Mogherini said. The EU crucial influence on maintaining multilateralism, liberal democracies, and open societies are the challenges the bloc faces today, she continued.
Mogherini gave special attention to the European values as a binding element for the member-states, describing the organisation as a “family” of nations, which came to “rule together”. “The EU is not only about budget but it is a community of citizens”, the diplomat added.
“Pacta servanda sunt. It’s a test on EU, that we can take our own decisions, exercise sovereignty, protect our interests. And show strength. We have challenges, but we can preserve the deal if the Iranians stay in and respect it as they are doing” – Mogherini said, reflecting upon the situation with the nuclear deal #JCPOA.
Belgium Minister Didier Reynders confirmed that his country will continue contributing in finding multilateral solutions to the big challenges of our times alongside and in support of the European Union, namely in the issues of foreign policy, defence and migration. He also put forward his proposals on strengthening the rule of law mechanism in the EU – “internal credibility enhances EUs external credibility”, the diplomat said, underlining that the internal strength of the bloc inevitably translates into its foreign policy potential.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a news conference following talks with his Belgian counterpart Didier Reynders that he was shocked to hear about the accusations against Russian defense attorney Natalya Veselnitskaya and Donald Trump Jr, the US president’s eldest son under the pretext of a communication between them.
“I was amazed when I found out that Trump’s son is being accused of communicating with her,” the minister said. “For me this is mind-boggling, if truth to be told. When somebody talks to an attorney, how can this pose a threat to anyone?”
Lavrov underlined that he had received the news about the meeting from the main stream media (MSM). “This morning, when I turned on the TV, all the Western TV channels were discussing that,” he said. “It is amazing how serious people can blow things out of proportion.” The diplomat lamented the superficial approach of the MSM to the subject.
“We have not seen a single credible fact,” Lavrov regretted. “If journalists are ready to work only on the basis of unsubstantiated statements and are not prepared to take into account the fact that there is no credible evidence, then I can’t do anything. Thus, this is the sort of profession, which relies on such approaches given today’s environment.”