Due to the banking crisis the Belgian government had to bail out 4 major financial institutions in 2008 and 2009 to prevent them from bankruptcy. Fortis, KBC, Dexia and Ethias initially received more than 20 billion of tax payers' money which they will have to reimburse eventually. But which role does the government play in the meantime now that it acquired seats as an important stakeholder in the governing boards of these banks?

In its research on the mandate of the government representatives, Mo* discovered a serious lack of clear guidelines and transparency. None of the concerned government officials wanted to talk to the press. They all refer to the Minister of Finance Didier Reynders who, in turn, shields the government intervention from the public attention and parliamentary control. He seems to want to prevent society from getting more impact on the banking industry. Confidants of Mister Reynders were appointed as board members and put in other crucial positions. Banks continue their harm causing investments and activities in tax havens, even though the state has now become a major shareholder.

Team members

Mathias Bienstman

Mathias Bienstman (1981) is an investigative journalist.

Berber Verpoest

Berber Verpoest (1983) is a Belgian freelance (video) journalist from Belgium.

A working grant of 5.640 euro allocated on 08/12/2008.

"Minister of Finance Reynders mocks parlement" - Published in MO* on 24/02/2010.

need resources for your own investigative story?

Journalismfund.eu’s flexible grants programmes enable journalists to produce relevant public interest stories with a European mind-set from international, national, and regional perspectives.


support independent cross-border investigative journalism

We rely on your support to continue the work that we do. Make a gift of any amount today.