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Belgian police officers charged in major investigation

© Belga
Credit: © Belga
© Belga

Three police officers were arrested on Tuesday in Brussels, as part of an investigation against a criminal organisation within the Traveller community operating in Belgium. Federal prosecutor spokesperson Wenke Roggen confirmed on Thursday that a Brussels police officer had been indicted this week and that another federal police officer in Brussels was placed under arrest.

Two other policemen were arrested last Friday for bribery and breach of professional secrecy. They have since been released on conditional but remain accused of offence. 

A total of 24 suspects appeared Thursday before the council chamber. The detention was confirmed for 23 of them, one by electronic bracelet. A suspect has been released on conditional. 

The judicial investigation into a major scam exceeding 6.5 million euros involving the sale of used cars opened last year in October 2018. Since then over 620 offences have been referenced.

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The modus operandi of the perpetrators was almost always the same. Alleged buyers responded to a private advertisement to sell a car. A fake bank transfer was made with proof on a phone or tablet. A member of the gang then quickly took the vehicle and drove it abroad. 

Some 1,200 policemen, including 820 investigators from federal police, air support and special units were taking part on Tuesday in more than 200 raids across Belgium in what was the largest Belgian police operation in over 20 years. The Belgian police received support by French gendarmerie near the Belgian-French border. 

Seizures targeted vehicles and property in which the money was laundered and reinvested. The officers confiscated an automatic weapon, handguns, rifles, luxury cars, watches, jewellery, about a million euros in cash and 90 caravans, 91 vehicles and 34 properties, mostly houses, apartments and villas.

The Brussels Times