Friday, October 23, 2020

Belgium’s EU candidate Didier Reynders denies corruption allegations

-

Didier Reynders, Belgium’s pick for EU justice commissioner, denied on Wednesday corruption allegations against him and said he would continue to seek the post because he had not been charged.

At a confirmation hearing, Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders told the European Parliament that money-laundering allegations made by a former Belgian spy were “malicious” and were aimed at damaging his reputation.

“On Saturday, September 14, I learned that serious accusations had been made against me by a person who was deliberately trying to damage my reputation,” he told EU lawmakers, denying the allegations.

“All of us unfortunately can be at risk of such malicious allegations,” he said.

- Advertisement -

Reynders, one of the proposed members of the EU’s executive Commission that will take office on Nov. 1, faces accusations that he took illicit payments linked to business deals in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kazakhstan and Libya.

Those allegations were made by former intelligence agent Nicolas Ullens in April.

A Brussels prosecutor on Friday shelved the inquiry, citing a lack of evidence.

But Ullens filed a new legal complaint on Monday, seen by Reuters, that accused Reynders of covering up a Belgian intelligence investigation into the allegations.

- Advertisement -

Asked by one EU lawmaker if he had considered stepping aside while a new legal examination took its course, Reynders said: “There is no charge and so I don’t have any intention to take a pause or organize a resignation.”

Monday’s legal complaint is based on copies of 18 intelligence service reports between 2009 and 2015 that accuse Didier Reynders and several other government officials of money laundering, Ullens told Reuters on Monday.

A spokesman for Didier Reynders told Reuters on Tuesday the veteran politician considered the first case closed and referred questions on the second to Reynders’ lawyer, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“The same people will try again and maybe again and again and I will have the same reaction with my lawyer,” Reynders told EU lawmakers at the hearing.

European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen is seeking a strong mandate to deal with challenges ranging from populist, anti-EU politicians inside the European Union as well as climate change and a more assertive China.

Von der Leyen has said there should be “no room for doubt” about the standing of her commissioners.

The justice commissioner will play an important role seeking to uphold the rule of law, particularly in Poland and Hungary, where the bloc has been unable to slow what it sees as a slide away from democracy.

MUST READ

Goldman Sachs agrees $3 billion settlement with US DoJ over 1MDB corruption scandal

Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay nearly $3bn (£2.3bn) in the US to end a probe of its role in Malaysia's 1MDB corruption scandal. The...

Hong Kong fines Goldman Sachs $350 million over 1MDB scandal

Goldman Sachs ignored multiple red flags over the multibillion-dollar fundraisings it arranged for state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad, Hong Kong’s financial regulator said on...

Texas attorney general Ken Paxton fires top aide who accused him of bribery

Lacey Mase, one of the top aides who accused Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton of crimes including bribery and abuse of office, has been fired, she told The...

Fundraiser Elliott Broidy pleads guilty in foreign agent case linked to 1MDB

Major Republican Party and Trump fundraiser Elliott Broidy pleaded guilty Tuesday to acting as an unregistered foreign agent, admitting to accepting millions...

Germany issues international arrest warrant for founders of law firm at the centre of Panama Papers

Germany has issued international arrest warrants for the two founders of the firm at the centre of the tax haven scandal exposed by the...
Advertisement
Advertisement

Latest News

This Week

Ex-CEO of dietary supplement maker USPLabs sentenced to prison in fraud case

They wanted to lose weight and get stronger to boost their military careers. But after taking USPLabs' dietary supplements – with ingredients made in...

UAE suspends licences of 200 law firms over anti-money laundering compliance

Practicing licences of 200 law firms in the UAE have been suspended for a month for not following the prescribed procedures to combat money...

EU takes legal action against Cyprus and Malta over investment for citizenship scheme

The European Union’s executive said on Tuesday it was launching legal action against Cyprus and Malta over their investor citizenship programmes, also known as...

Former North Macedonia PM linked to new money laundering probe

The Organised Crime Prosecution in North Macedonia on Monday confirmed the arrest of Risto Novacevski – the best man of fugitive ex-prime minister Nikola...
Advertisement

Adblock Detected!

Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors. Please consider supporting us by whitelisting our website.

Enable Notifications    Ok No thanks