Suspected Vlaams Belang-China spy tried to influence his younger brother MP

Suspected Vlaams Belang-China spy tried to influence his younger brother MP
Credit: Belga

The Federal Public Prosecutor's Office has opened a formal investigation into the former Vlaams Belang politician Frank Creyelman for Chinese espionage, while his younger brother Steven, a sitting Vlaams Belang MP, is also now being investigated in Parliament.

Justice Minister Paul Van Tigchelt announced the formal investigation into Frank Creyelman in the House Justice Committee on Wednesday afternoon, with the prosecutor's office confirming the news but refusing to give more details to the Belga News Agency.

"The Federal Prosecutor's Office is currently working on it," the office said. "We are only at the beginning of a long investigation that will have to determine the role and responsibilities of each person."

For over three years, the Flemish far-right nationalist Frank Creyelman was used as an informer by Chinese intelligence services in an attempt to influence Belgian foreign policy in favour of forwarding Beijing's interests.

Creyelman was caught exchanging text messages with a Chinese intelligence officer, revealing that he had been bribed by the spy for years to try to influence Belgian and European policy towards China. Creyelman, a former senator and Flemish MP, was then expelled from the party.

Far-right fraternity

On Wednesday, Frank’s younger brother, Vlaams Belang MP Steven Creyelman, also came under the investigation's lens. New reports revealed that Frank Creyelman tried to influence his younger brother, according to the latter without his knowledge.

On Wednesday, the Belgian Greens (Groen and Ecolo) filed a complaint with the Federal Ethics Commission against Vlaams Belang MP Steven Creyelman for possible Chinese interference in the Chamber.

Among other things, the parties refer to several parliamentary questions, for example on the danger of asylum seekers from Hong Kong, which the Greens believe were suggested by brother Frank and his Chinese connection. In leaked reports, Frank Creyelman says he will discuss those issues with his brother.

Steven was also informed by the Belgian intelligence services that his brother was under investigation for foreign espionage, but did not report this to Vlaams Belang's party leader, Tom Van Grieken. The MP was removed from the his position as chair of the House Committees on Army Acquisitions, but still sits in parliament.

"When you're in Parliament, it's to defend the interests of the people who elected you, not those of foreign authoritarian regimes," Francophone Green (Ecolo) MP Samuel Cogolati told L'Avenir. "What annoys me is that the citizen could legitimately think that an MP can be paid by a foreign power in exchange for questions or positions on Hong Kong, Covid or the Uighurs."

Earlier this week, the Flemish Greens (Groen) had filed a similar complaint in the Flemish Parliament, where Vlaams Belang MP Filip Dewinter sits, for ordering 10,000 mouth masks from his "Chinese contacts", De Standaard reported.

Both parliaments are awaiting further information by the Belgian intelligence services on the issue.

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