Agusta scandal

The Agusta scandal or Agusta affair ( French : Affair Agusta , Dutch : Agustaschandaal ), alternatively known as the Agusta-Dassault Case , was a corruption scandal in Belgium during the 1990s. It has been made by the aviation firms Agusta and Dassault had bribed various Belgian office-holders in 1988 in order to secure a large order of Agusta A109 helicopters from the Belgian Army and the deals for refitting Belgian F-16 Fighting Falconthrows respectively. Several politicians from the Walloon and Flemish Socialist parties, including the incumbent Secretary General of NATO Willy Claes , have been resigned as a result of the scandal and its subsequent investigation.

History

Investigation and exposure

The assassination of André Cools , a politician of the French-speaking Socialist Party (PS) and Deputy Prime Minister , when it turned out that Cools had knowledge about the Agusta deal. An official investigation into the deal was begun in January 1993, by Véronique Ancia , when a search warrant was issued for Agusta and its lobbyist Georges Cywie .

In January 1994, the Belgian Senate removed the immunity on the Minister-President of Wallonia , Guy Spitaels , and the Minister Guy Mathot  ( fr ) , both from the PS, and members of the Walloon Government .

Guy Coëme , Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transportation for the PS resigned that same month. Frank Vandenbroucke , Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Federal Government for the Flemish Socialist Party (SP), resigned from his post in March 1994. Willy Claes , Member of the SP and Secretary General of NATO , resigned on 20 October 1995.

Prosecution

A criminal trial has been handled by the Court of Cassation , which is responsible for cases involving minister in function. The public prosecutor was Eliane Liekendael  ( nl ) . Willy Claes received a 3-year probationary sentence and a 5-year prohibition on running for public office. Guy Coëme and Guy Spitaels both received 3-year probationary sentences with a 5-year prohibition on running for public office. Serge Dassault , of the Dassault company, received an 18- month probationary sentence for bribery .

In total, Agusta and Dassault paid more than 160 million francs (about 4 million euros ) to the Parti Socialiste and Socialistische Partij in bribes.

Verdicts

Willy Claes , who was forced to resign his position Secretary General of NATOover the scandal
Verdicts of the Court of Cassation
name Function Party Crime (Agusta case) Crime (Dassault case) Sentence Fine (in Belgian francs )
Andre Bastien Chief of Staff to Coëme PS n / A passive corruption
forgery
6 months probationary 6,000
Willy Claes Minister of Foreign Affairs SP passive corruption passive corruption 3 years probationary 60,000
Guy Coëme Minister of Defense PS n / A passive corruption
forgery
2 years probationary 60,000
Serge Dassault Director, Dassault Group n / A n / A active corruption 2 years probationary 60,000
Johan Delanghe Chief of staff to Claes SP passive corruption passive corruption
forgery
18 months 60,000
Auguste Merry Hermanus  ( en ) Chief of staff PS n / A passive corruption 1 year probationary 30,000
Etienne Eat Treasurer, Socialistische Partij SP n / A n / A 1 year probationary 30,000
Jean-Louis Mazy Deputy chief of staff to Coëme PS n / A passive corruption
forgery
6 months probationary 6,000
Alfons Puelinckx lawyer n / A passive corruption
forgery
passive corruption 2 years incarceration 60,000
François Pirot Vice-Secretary, Socialist Party PS n / A passive corruption 3 months probationary 6,000
Guy Spitaels Chairman, Socialist Party PS n / A passive corruption 2 years probationary 60,000
Luc Wallyn Secretary, Socialist Party PS passive corruption
forgery
passive corruption 2 years probationary 60,000

The Socialist Party had to return 49 million francs in bribes, the Socialistische Partij 111 million francs. Claes, Coeme, Delanghe, Hermanus, Eaten, Puelinckx, Spitaels, and Wallyn were also barred from running for political office, or working in the civil service, for five years.

European Court of Human Rights

After the verdicts were handed down, many of the convicted parties applied to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to get the verdicts revoked, because the Court of Cassation in Belgium did not allow for an appeal, which would have been in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights .

On June 2, 2005, the ECHR judged that in the case of the two ministers, Willy Claes and Guy Coëme, both men were given a lawful trial at the Court of Cassation. The trial of the five others Who applied to the ECHR, Dassault, Hermanus, Delanghe Puelinckx Wallyn and, at the Court of Cassation, Was found to-have contravened the European Convention on Human Rights , aim Their verdicts Would stand nonetheless.

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