Kazakh Dirty Money Splashes Belgium

Kazakhgate or Diamondgate? The Evidence So Far

A former Senate deputy chairman is suspected of having passed a law to avoid prison a businessmanto close to the Kazakh dictator. In the background, a French arms deal…

The case dates back to 2011. The Kazakh billionaire Patroh Chodiev, who also has Belgian nationality, then under the influence of an investigation into money laundering and tax fraud in Belgium. He faces big; the prison box approaches. And then, miracle! An amendment to Belgian law extends the application of the criminal transaction to corruption. There will be no trial. Chodiev is doing, amicably by paying 23 million euros to the Belgian State. A peccadillo for the businessman.

Behind the miracle, there is Armand De Decker, now 68 years old. Lawyer, the man is also a leading member of the liberal party. Then vice-president of the Senate, Mayor of Uccle, a crested commune of Brussels, De Decker hit € 540,000 to defend the interests of billionaire Kazakh. In all honor, he said. Except for 350 hours of work (not declared to the tax authorities), this makes € 1,500 per hour!

A commission of inquiry?

Belgian judges do not. They want to see if De Decker was not paid to lobby the government. Since 2015, an investigation is underway. The political career of De Decker wobbles. Sunday, his party has put ” on leave of all its functions “.

A parliamentary committee could soon be created. It should examine the exact role, in this case, of former President Nicolas Sarkozy and his interior minister at the time, Claude Gueant. For the Belgian part of the “Kazakhgate” has its source in France. In March 2015, a former prefect, project leader at the Elysee in 2011, has been indicted for corruption of foreign public officials.

In correspondence unearthed by investigators, the former prefect appreciates De Decker asked to intervene with three Belgian ministers and that the law be amended for Chodiev. But at the time, France Completes Sale of thirty-five attack helicopters in Kazakhstan and President Nazarbayev made it clear to his French interlocutors how the fate of his friend Chodiev mattered.

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