Belfius charged with home loans to crimine …

Photo: MARC HERREMANS – MEDIA HOUSE

The Belfius bank has been suspected by the Brussels investigating judge Michel Claise for granting mortgage loans to members of a large criminal organization. De Tijd and L’Echo write this on Friday.

The federal prosecutor’s office is prosecuting a gang of caravan dwellers who specialized in vehicle scams. In a secondary file, investigating judge Claise also put the bank Belfius in suspicion. Several members of the gang were found to have made real estate investments. Many of them had previously visited an agency of Crefius, which is linked to Belfius, in Jemappes in the province of Hainaut. They received mortgage loans and were able to launder their money.

It was already announced in June last year that a search had taken place in the Crefius branch in Jemappes in question. The manager was already suspected of private corruption a few months ago. She was allegedly bribed to grant mortgage loans to various members of the criminal organization who had no official income.

Bank still enjoys criminal money

Soon, Belfius herself had filed a complaint against the agency’s independent manager and fired her. But according to L’Echo, the Brussels investigating judge believes that Belfius also made a mistake. Because the bank has not yet sold the property, despite questions from the court to that effect, and because the monthly repayments of the loans continue. In this way, the bank still enjoys the criminal money, according to the investigating judge. The bank would therefore have been suspected of, among other things, money laundering, fraud and participation in a criminal organization.

The federal prosecutor’s office does not want to confirm anything and does not comment. Belfius believes that the bank itself is the victim of this and denies having committed even the slightest infringement.

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