2016-03-17

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.

Wim Van den Eynde

Wim Van den Eynde (1966) is a Civil Engineer Architect (K.U.L, Leuven) and studied Political and Social Sciences (K.U.L., Leuven). He has been making reports for the Belgian public broadcaster VRT/Canvas since 1996. Since 2005 he is a journalist for Panorama (later Pano) (CANVAS, VRT).

Supported
A working grant of € 5.000, allocated on 29/05/2013.
ID
FPD/2013/1021

BOOK

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

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