Federal prosecutors have said they have sent a European Investigating Order (EIO) concerning the Dubai Papers to Paris financial prosecutors, requesting copies of documents that are relevant for Belgium, spokesperson Eric Van Duyse announced on Wednesday.
Intense sorting must first be done because elements concerning only French courts are protected by investigation secrecy. “We are impatient for these documents to arrive in Belgium because they will allow us to move forward,” Van Duysse said.
The Federal Prosecutor’s Office opened an inquiry on this international network of tax evasion that was established in the early 2000s around the Helin Group, which is based in the UAE. The investigation was entrusted to the Central Office of Economic and Financial Crime (OCDEFO). The federal judge in charge of the case travelled to Paris on 13 September for a meeting at the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office. A judge has not yet been appointed in Belgium, but it is possible that the file elements supplied by France could allow opening the investigation.
The company in question was founded by a Belgian national, Prince Henry de Croy, who had been previously prosecuted in Belgium for tax evasion before being acquitted in 2015 by the Liege Court of Appeal. According to L’Echo and De Tijd, fifty Belgians had entrusted de Croy with up to 13 million euros per person, between 2002 and the end of last year.
An investigation was opened in France in the wake of press revelations of the existence of this vast international network of fiscal laundering.
Finance Minister Alexander De Croo has agreed to the constitution of the Belgian State as a civil party on the issue of the Dubai Papers, announced the Special Tax Inspectorate (ISI) Deputy Head Frank Philipsen at the House Finance Committee on Tuesday.