$Belgian Parliamentary Commission finds shareholders of global mining group ERG innocent.
Belgian MP Vincent van Quickenborne has joined the Parliamentary Inquiry Commission (PIC) Deputy Chairman, Sophie de Wit, in denouncing the Commission of Inquiry, reiterating that there is nothing to implicate Patokh Chodiev in the Belgian Parliament’s 2011 vote for the extension of the criminal settlement. He has asked his colleagues and members of the commission of inquiry to apologise to the Kazakh businessman.
Pascal Vanderveeren, Senior Counsel to Mr Chodiev, who is a shareholder of Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) headquartered in Luxembourg, said “The Belgian Parliamentary Inquiry Commission (PIC) has completed its work and found that ERG’s shareholders were completely innocent of any wrongdoing.”
As part of a long-running investigation, there were fanciful allegations that a helicopter contract between France and Kazakhstan in 2011 had been secured by arranging the passing of an amendment to the Belgian settlement law for the benefit of certain ERG shareholders.
As a result, Belgium formed a full Parliamentary Inquiry Commission (PIC) at the end of 2016. The commission sat for 16 months and has now confirmed no wrongdoing by ERG’s shareholders.
The concept of "Kazakhgate" collapses
As reported by Mediapart, like many of his colleagues, Vincent van Quickenborne was not sparing in his criticism of the work and progress of the commission on which he sat. Even in April 2017, he said that "if nothing changes, we will have to change the way we work and hold closed hearings" - a clear allusion to the countless leaks that have fed the country's tabloids, which we now know were orchestrated by the Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry, Dirk van der Maelen.
On numerous occasions, the MP also criticized the way in which work was conducted, the overloaded schedule of hearings and postponements. Mr Van Quickenborne also strongly criticized Mr Van der Maelen's prejudiced management of the investigation and his frequent leaks to the press about witnesses, before they had even appeared before his commission.
Despite the Belgo-Uzbek businessman Patokh Chodiev being routinely slandered in the media throughout the PIC, the Belgian MP is categorical: there is nothing to implicate Mr Chodiev in the 2011 vote for the extension of the criminal settlement and his Belgian citizenship was granted entirely legitimately. He asked his colleagues and members of the commission of inquiry to apologise to the Kazakh businessman.
On 25 April, Mr Van Quickenborne asked the question, the single question, on which the whole of the so-called ’Kazakhgate’ rested: "The answer to the question that lies at the heart of our work (i.e. "was the law for the criminal transaction enacted to assist Patokh Chodiev and his partners?"), is clearly no. The commission does not need to apologise to him. But having made gratuitous accusations against him, its members should apologise.”