Prince Laurent’s lawyer writes to Speaker of Parliament
Friday, 15 December 2017
Prince Laurent’s attorney, Laurent Arnauts, wrote on Friday to the Speaker of the Belgian House of Representatives, Sigfried Bracke, to “ask him to respect the rights of the defence” by allowing the latter to explain its case both orally and in writing to parliament, Arnauts told the Belga news agency. The Office of Prime Minister Charles Michel had announced on Thursday that the Federal Government would propose to the House a 15%-reduction of Laurent’s annual allocation as a penalty for his attendance of a reception at the Chinese Embassy in July 2017 without first informing the State.
This would reduce the allocation by 46,000 euros, a sanction judged disproportionate by Arnauts, who also feels the defence’s rights have not been sufficiently respected.
He complained that he was informed only on Thursday evening of the arguments put forward by the Federal Government’s lawyer in response to the preliminary memoir he had filed on the 25th of September. As a result, a sanction was decided without giving Arnauts the possibility of responding to the Government’s lawyer.
The prince’s lawyer said he was studying all possible ways to appeal, but especially “the attitude of Parliament,” which will have the last word regarding the sanction. He therefore sent the letter to Bracke on Friday, “asking him to respect the rights of the defence by allowing it to present its case in writing and orally in Parliament”.
This, Arnauts said, which would enable the defence to respond to the Government’s arguments and provide explanations where necessary.