5 years to corner him, 26 days to free him: the incredible ball of an examining magistrate!

Whoops ! Because of the holidays, an arrest warrant “badly issued” in Brussels in a large file of tax fraud.

A German national, of Turkish origin, on whom the Belgian justice had been investigating for five years in a case of VAT fraud, finally located in June, arrested in Serbia and extradited in July to Belgium, was released from prison in the month of ‘August.

Reason: the way a little too succinct in which the examining magistrate issued his arrest warrant, after an interrogation dispatched in 24 minutes.

The 49-year-old man was the subject of an international arrest warrant issued in Brussels for criminal organization as a leader, forged documents and use, criminal association, money laundering, false taxes, VAT fraud and offenses related to insolvency. It took the implementation of international police cooperation to finally corner him in Serbia on June 14. Then a month of waiting to obtain extradition to Belgium on July 23. On August 18, he could leave the Brussels prison. With conditions to be met, of course, but he was outside.

All this because on the day of the extradition, July 23, the investigating judge in charge of the file was on vacation, which is legitimate, and the colleague had to resume the case at short notice, which is very technical, not knowing her, could only question the suspect in a general way, whereas the law prescribes a precise and complete questioning.

The case, which starts from Belgium, has ramifications in Germany and the Netherlands. It involves a group of people of various nationalities, but all of Turkish origin. The suspected frauds relate to considerable amounts of VAT which escaped the Belgian tax authorities, and therefore which did not end up in the coffers of the Belgian State, since 2011.

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