Café owners get threatening message from someone claiming to be Belgian mayor
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Café owners get threatening message from someone claiming to be Belgian mayor

Tournai Mayor Paul-Olivier Delannois © Belga

A number of café and restaurant owners in Tournai received an email from someone who claimed to be Mayor Paul-Olivier Delannois in the last 24 hours that contained threats about what would happen if they did not respect the coronavirus measures.

The City of Tournai’s college will examine the issue on Wednesday, as Delannois said his role as head of Tournai police makes it difficult for him to lodge the complaint himself.

“The aim is to appoint a lawyer who will lodge a complaint, either with the police or directly with an investigating judge,” said Mayor Delannois. “This is a case of identity theft.”

After receiving a suspicious email in which someone claiming to be the Mayor threatened certain self-employed people in the food and catering sector if they did not respect the rules of reopening their establishments, the owner of a business contacted the Mayor directly, which was when Delannois learned of the impersonation.

In the email, an unknown person uses the name and title of Delannois and lists a telephone number that is not that of the Mayor.

The impersonator reminded recipients of the measures currently in force regarding the reopening of the hospitality sector in Belgium and ended the email with the sentence: “I am waiting for your adaptations, otherwise…”

For the signature, they used the initial D of the mayor’s last name, as well as his first name.

“The telephone number given in the email, which I have called several times, is not answered,” said Delannois.

“I assume that the police, via the computer of the restaurant owner who received one of these emails, will trace it back to the person who sent it.”

The Brussels Times