Visa fraud: Mr Francken questioned as a witness

The judicial authorities have questioned the former Belgian asylum secretary, Theo Francken, (Flemish nationalist), in connection with an investigation into possible fraud involving humanitarian visas.  Such visas are offered to refugees in danger.

Mr Francken was questioned as a witness as part of an investigation centring on a Mechelen local councillor suspected of receiving payments for promoting specific candidates.  The councillor acted as go-between between applicants from the Levant and the minister’s office.

Mr Francken told Flemish media that he had been invited by the judicial authorities and accepted the invitation.  Belgian prosecutors have confirmed that the Flemish nationalist has been interviewed as a witness.  Mr Francken says he wishes to ensure full transparency but is unwilling to comment further.