BRUSSELS - A completely new view on the Fortis-case and especially on the very closed deliberation procedure in the magistracy. Wim Van den Eyndes book Fortisgate raises serious questions about the functioning of the judiciary in Belgium.

December 2008, the dark days before Christmas. The Leterme I government falls after the first chairman of the Court of Cassation has accused the government of trying to influence the legal process. The reason: the Fortis judgment of the Brussels Court of Appeal, which froze the sale of Fortis to BNP Paribas and thus blocked a decision by the government. The separation of powers seems to have been violated.

The arrest was preceded by a genuine magistrate's war. Christine Schurmans, a magistrate who disagreed with the judgment, refused to sign it. Moreover, according to the newspapers, her husband would have warned the government of a CD&V (Flemish christian democrats) apparatchik with close ties to the government, and she in turn tried to stop the ruling. The other two judges have not yielded to the pressure and have handed down the verdict. Fortisgate was born.

A stress test for justice reveals the dubious role of the magistracy in Fortisgate. Was Christine Schurmans indeed a puppet of the government, or was she the scapegoat in this story? What was the role of Paul Blondeel and Mireille Salmon, the other two judges in the Fortis case? This book sheds a completely new light on the entire episode. It raises serious questions about the functioning of the judiciary in Belgium.

Team members

Wim Van den Eynde

Wim Van den Eynde (1966) is Belgian television journalist for Pano (CANVAS, VRT).

A working grant of € 5.000, allocated on 29/05/2013.

BOOK (in Dutch)

Title: Fortisgate. Een stresstest voor justitie
Author: Wim Van den Eynde
Publisher: Van Halewyck
Date of publication: 12 april 2016
400 pages

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.