IS DIDIER REYNDERS THE MOST LEGITIMATE CANDIDATE?

Lettre ouverte aux députés européens

Ladies and Gentlemen of the European Deputies∙e∙s,

As a critical and investigative journal, we would like to alert you to the danger of Didier Reynders’ appointment as Commissioner for Justice, Rule of Law and Consumer Protection, when there are huge suspicions against him. We would like to make you aware of our journalistic work which supports our questions, should also instill doubt in you and trigger the precautionary principle.

We have been following for a long time the affairs around which the man who was chosen to become European Commissioner curiously gravitates, as does his party, the MR, which will make the chairman of the parliamentary commission of inquiry into Kazakhgate say that there is a real  » blue network « . We present you briefly these.

- Kazakhgate In 2010, while Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, is in commercial negotiations with Kazakhstan, concerning the sale of 45 EC 145 helicopters from the Eurocopter group (EADS) and 290 locomotives from the Alstom group, for the sum of 2 billion euros, the Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev conditions this astronomical purchase:  » I will sign if you intervene on behalf of my friends who are being prosecuted in Belgium(1). These famous friends are PatokhChodiev (Kazakh and Belgian nationalities), Alijan Ibragimov (Uzbek and Belgian) and Alexandre Mashkevitch (Israeli and Kazakh), called by ease « the Kazakh trio ». From this request, a team is set up. Damien Loras, Sarkozy’s Central Asia advisor, known as Patokh Chodiev’s « handler », contacted Jean-François Étienne des Rosaies to find him an international business lawyer. Catherine Degoul will be chosen. Loras and des Rosaies put together a technical (judicial and financial) and political team, between France and Belgium. In addition to Damien Loras, the pilot of the case, des Rosaies, the intermediary, Catherine Degoul, the lawyer in charge of the judicial aspect, there was also the vice-president of the Belgian Senate at the time, Armand de Decker, who was also a lawyer.

A federal deputy, Marco Van Hees, will say: « An important body of evidence points to the man who is still Deputy PrimeMinister in the federal government as having had a key role in the Chodiev affair. Our investigations and those of other newspapers always come to the same conclusions. The links of Didier Reynders in this case, with Nicolas Sarkozy, Armand de Decker, Catherine Degoul, the lawyer of the Kazakh trio … the assignments to the State Security of people close to Didier Reynders; the accusations of Nicolas Ullens, agent of the intelligence services in Belgium (the State Security) between 2007 and 2018 and the threats to which he was subjected, but also the officines that are the Order of Malta, the Company of the Musketeers of Armagnac, or the concessions of the nobility, where the protagonists « inter-decorate » … To cite just one example: Aymeri de Montesquiou-Fezensac d’Artagnan, special representative of President Sarkozy for Central Asia, senator-mayor UDI of Marsan, very close to the Kazakh power and  » a great friend of President Nazarbayev « , became an active member of the Franco-Belgian cell supporting the Kazakh trio. The French justice system will suspect him of having received secret commissions on the occasion of the 2 billion euro contract between France and Kazakhstan. Aymeri de Montesquiou is captain of the Compagnie des Mousquetaires d’Armagnac, accused, according to the newspaper Mediapart, of having an undeclared account with his wife, in the Swiss branch of HSBC. On October 16, 2010, Didier Reynders was inducted as « Musketeer of Armagnac ». Coincidence of timing: on October 27, 2010, Sarkozy and Nazarbayev signed contracts worth 2 billion euros. Among the other members of the brotherhood inducted that day was Armand de Decker, the Vice President of the Senate and lawyer for the Kazakh trio.

Numerous revelations have been made in this case, clearly implicating Didier Reynders, such as the letter from Etienne des Rosaies to Claude Guéant:  » I therefore obtained the decisive support of my first cousin Armand de Decker, which brought us the « support » of the Ministers of Justice, Finance and Foreign Affairs. And who « committed » the vote (unanimously) of his liberal party to modify the 1st law of the new Belgian Civil Code of Justice authorizing the State to « financial transactions in criminal cases covering in particular the charges of money laundering, forgery and criminal conspiracy » « (2).In the midst of « Kazakhgate », Didier Reynders does not deny having met the lawyer Degoul on 2.2.2012 in the office of Armand De Decker and she would even mention several meetings.

- Libyan funds: in March 2018, it was discovered that €10 billion (out of 16 billion) on the accounts of Libyan funds placed in Belgium by Gaddafi, had evaporated(3). The Ministers of Foreign Affairs are the only ones competent in UN freeze decisions, according to the EU Regulation 2016/44. At the time of the thaw, Didier Reynders was Minister of Foreign Affairs. It is also strange for a man who has always denied having intervened in the management of Libyan funds to ask his counterpart if Libya would consider unfreezing part of the funds « for humanitarian purposes.(4) In addition, a letter from the Euroclear bank indicates that as early as November 2011, the institution was asked to create a second account to release the interest from the first one (approximately €300 million/year in interest). At that time, Didier Reynders was Minister of Finance for another three weeks.

- The case of the false visas Myrianne Coen was second in command at the Belgian embassy in Sofia (Bulgaria) in the 1990s when she uncovered a vast visa traffic involving the ambassador of the time, with drug trafficking, meat trafficking, prostitution, child pornography, etc. There is also a suspected link with pedophile networks and the Dutroux affair.(5). At the time, the Center for Equal Opportunity and the Fight against Racism (now Unia), through its director Johan Leman, seriously suspected human trafficking in this case, and thus added to the complaint of Mrs. Coen. In this case, Didier Reynders was accused in 2012 of intimidation, harassment and removing the diplomat from her duties. Rather than order a more in-depth investigation based on Myrianne Coen’s statements, Minister Reynders  » has the honor to file a complaint  » against the diplomat on July 31, 2012, asking  » to proceed with a judicial investigation concerning the facts that directly harm the honor of the Belgian State and, more particularly, the FPS Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation « .

-The information of a former agent of the State Security: Nicolas Ullens de Schooten, former agent of the State Security, has brought many elements of suspicion concerning money laundering and corruption.

You are about to validate the nomination of Didier Reynders as European Commissioner for Justice and the Rule of Law, while over the past 20 years his name has been linked in Belgium to multiple conflicts of interest (links with dubious real estate promoters buying up State buildings at low prices and then leasing them back to the State ‑sale and lease back‑, while Didier Reynders was Minister in charge of the Belgian State Buildings Agency), to corruption (Kazakhgate, Libyan funds) and money laundering.

Two legal cases involving him are currently underway:

  • a file at the Court of Appeal of Mons on the so-called « Kazakhgate » case;
  • a file at the Court of Appeal of Brussels following the criminal complaint of the former agent of the State Security Nicolas Ullens against the persons who as author, co-author or accomplice, threatened him with death and harassed him in the exercise of his functions as inspector at the State Security (VSSE) investigating various files of corruption and money laundering in which the names of the future European commissioner Didier Reynders and his right-hand man and advisor Jean-Claude Fontinoy appeared.

With such ongoing cases in which he is involved, the candidate commissioner presented by Belgium could not exercise important responsibilities as European Commissioner for Justice and Rule of Law with the honesty and full commitment that this task requires.

The application of the French commissioner, Mrs. Goulard, was rejected on lighter grounds than the cases involving Mr. Reynders.

On the basis of the precautionary principle, you should ask Belgium to nominate another Commissioner candidate.

We ask:

- a public debate in the knowledge of all the available information, notably in this letter;

- to this end, a postponement of the European Parliament vote scheduled for Wednesday, November 27, in order to make this democratic debate possible.

Alexandre Penasse

Editor-in-Chief of Kairos newspaper


This letter is made public and sent to the press office.

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