Police officer arrested in Operation Sky was Chief Inspector of drug support team
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Police officer arrested in Operation Sky was Chief Inspector of drug support team

Credit: Belga

The Antwerp police officer arrested during the crackdown on organised crime earlier this month was the Chief Inspector for the drug support team (DOT).

He was arrested on suspicion of corruption, participation in a criminal organization, and violation of professional secrecy, according to De Standaard, who confirmed the facts with the chief’s lawyers.

It’s suspected that the Chief Inspector was approached by people involved in organised crime, and then passed criminals information from police databases. Whether he accepted payment for doing so is currently being investigated.

The Central Anti-Corruption Service (CDBC) of the federal police has carried out a search on the Chief and his workplace. A judge ruled that the Chief must remain in jail while awaiting trial.

The information concerning his involvement was learned when Belgian authorities cracked the encrypted messaging service Sky ECC, which allowed over 1,500 police officers across Belgium to be simultaneously deployed in at least 200 raids, many of which were centred around Antwerp and involved special forces.

The officer’s wife, also an employee of the Antwerp police, was also arrested for the same charges but released.

His lawyers provided no further comment.

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During the large-scale searches throughout Belgium, 48 suspects were arrested and €1.2 million and 17 tonnes of cocaine were seized, along with diamonds, jewellery, luxury vehicles, police uniforms and weapons.

Two of those arrests were of lawyers in Antwerp.

More high profile arrests are expected to follow, as Minister of Justice Vincent Van Quickenborne announced in recent days that the “upper world” would not be spared following Operation Sky.

“There are indications that people from the public sector are also involved in these cases,” he told VTM. “There will undoubtedly be cases in which there is talk of corruption, that is clear.”

Helen Lyons
The Brussels Times