Prince Laurent under investigation for fraud and extortion

prince laurent belgiumBy Joost Pauwels - Own work, CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

Prince Laurent of Belgium, the younger brother of King Philippe, is under investigation for fraud and extortion by Libya’s sovereign wealth fund.

It is alleged that Prince Laurent exerted “unacceptable pressure” to obtain nearly €70 million he says he is owed by the Libyan Ministry for Agriculture.

The Prince’s lawyer, Laurent Arnauts, said in a statement, “It’s pathetic. The Libyan dignitaries are trying to save face because they’ve just lost a 13th time before the Belgian courts and in Luxembourg. It’s normal for a creditor to try to enforce a court decision in his favour — it’s not extortion. Try telling your energy supplier otherwise.”

The Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) lawyer said, “We have been left with no option but to launch a criminal case against Prince Laurent. We have communicated factual elements to the investigative judge showing, according to us, that Prince Laurent abused his status as a public office-holder, claiming he could influence the criminal procedure against LIA and his CEO.”

The case dates back to 2008, when of foundation headed by Prince Laurent invested millions in a reforesting project by the LIA. After two years, the government cancelled the contract one-sided, and another year later, the government fell. Prince Laurent has been trying to recover his investment since then.


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