The money owed to the State of Belgium in unpaid fines and confiscations amounts to 1.221 billion euros, up from 1.05 billion in 2018, La Libre Belgique reported on Monday on its Internet site.
This includes fines set by the correctional court for petty offences, legal costs, and also the Victims’ Fund. The “count” began a few years ago with penal fines, mainly for tickets issued by the police, and confiscations were only added in 2016. However, these are now a significant portion of the outstanding moneys since there are 17,050 cases of confiscations, some of them as high as 200 million euros.
Penal fines are managed in collaboration with the Finance and Justice departments. Outstanding fines amounted to 1.46 billion euros when the database used by the Finance Department was created in 2016. Since then, fines totalling a little less than 240 million euros have been recovered.
The Finance Department has inherited the most complex cases: people unwilling to pay, those who declare bankruptcy, people serving jail time, drug traffickers and people abroad, mainly in Syria or Iraq, or with no known place of abode.
There are currently 735,000 fines still unpaid. “The caseload is heavy, but work is moving ahead, slowly but surely,” said Finance Department Spokeswoman Florence Angelici.