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Former federal police chief could face charges of bribery and money laundering

16:50 31/03/2021

The public prosecutor has asked that Glenn Audenaert, the former director of the federal police, be brought up on charges of accepting bribes, money laundering, breach of confidentiality and forgery. Audenaert was the police commissioner for about 12 years, until he resigned in 2012.

Audenaert, 65, has been under investigation for years, suspected of accepting bribes from Dutch real estate magnate Frank Zweegers to ensure that federal police headquarters be established in the federal building on Boulevard Pachéco. The building used to be owned by the Belgian state but was sold to Zweegers in 2003.

Some 2,000 police officers moved into the building, taking up 100,000 square-metres, which the federal police rented from Zweegers. While Zweegers’ company Breevast, together with Belgian development firm Immobel, paid just €27 million for the building, the state paid more than €300 million in rent and other costs over an 18-year period.

In 2014, Zweegers sold the largest part of the building to a German leasing company in partnership with the Chinese state for €330 million. Last year he sold the Finance Tower, another part of the complex, to a Korean investor for €1.2 billion, the biggest real estate transaction in Belgian history.

A 10-year investigation has now determined that corruption was at the heart of the entire affair, with Audenaert playing a pivotal role. A court must now decide if Audenaert will stand trial on the charges. A date for that decision is not yet known.

Photo: Glenn Audenaert in 2011, not long before he resigned  ©Filip Claus/BELGA

 

Written by Lisa Bradshaw