The Land Invest Group, a real estate firm, donated at least 18,000 euros to Joeri Dillen, former head of the cabinet of Antwerp Mayor Bart De Wever, to enable him to file a lawsuit against the Flemish investigative website Apache. Apache had conducted an investigation into controversial political decisions on land deals in Antwerp involving Land Invest. At the time, Ogeo Fund, a pension fund, owned a 50% share of the real estate firm, Le Vif newspaper reported.
In October 2016, Joeri Dillen sued Apache for 100,000 euros in material and moral damages following the publication by the investigative website of a series of 17 articles between January 2013 and September 2016.
One week later, a second suit was filed on the same grounds by Land Invest Group.
Both lawsuits were finally been thrown out as “groundless” or “inadmissible” by the Antwerp lower court. None of the plaintiffs appealed against the decision.
According to documents Le Vif, L’Express and Apache were able to consult, Land Invest Group made three payments to the Souidi & Souidi law firm for a total of 17,998.75 euros. Omar Souidi represented Joeri Dillen, chief of cabinet of the Antwerp mayor, from December 2012 to July 2014.