Drunk driving Flemish politician resigns amid accusations of assisting an escort commit fraud

Drunk driving Flemish politician resigns amid accusations of assisting an escort commit fraud
The president of the Flemish parliament stepped down after accusations emerged that he helped an escort commit fraud. Credit: © Belga

Kris Van Dijck has resigned from his position as president of the Flemish parliament following revelations by a Belgian tabloid that he allegedly assisted a professional escort to commit bankruptcy fraud in an affair in which the former deputy prime minister is also cited, Belgian media reports Thursday.

Citing an anonymous source, tabloid outlet P-Magazine said that Van Dijck helped an escort, referred to as Escort Lynn, obtain a fraudulent compensatory bankruptcy payment of €5,339 and that he had emailed Former Deputy Prime Minister Kris Peeters for help in obtaining it.

The Dutch-language tabloid also published excerpts of the emails allegedly exchanged between both politicians.

According to P-Magazine, the escort set up a business with the expectation that it would fail.

When it did, the resigning parliamentary president emailed Peeters, who also minister for employment, to "ensure" that the escort would receive a compensatory payment from Belgium's compensatory bankruptcy fund, FSO.

Peeters confirmed that such a payment had been made but said that the emails cited by the tabloid could not be found, according to De Standaard.

Van Dijck announced his resignation shortly after he was abruptly escorted from an event commemorating the Day of the Flemish Community as news of the allegedly fraudulent payout started circulating on local media.

The revelations put further public pressure on Van Dijck, who was already in the eye of the storm after causing a traffic accident while driving while under the influence last week.

"The recent events make it impossible for me to function as a Flemish parliament president any longer," a statement by Van Dijck, distributed by his party, the nationalist Nieuw Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA), read.

While the Flemish politician said his resignation was "necessary," he denies the tabloid's accusations.

Following Van Dijck's resignation, far-right Vlaams Belang's Filip Dewinter, the parliamentary vice-chairman, has become the de facto president of the parliament. He will remain in place until the N-VA appoint another person to fill the position.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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