A former minister of Wallonia and mayor of Waterloo, Belgium – Serge Kubla – was given a two-year suspended sentence on Thursday for money laundering through Malta and corruption involving the Democratic Republic of the Congo, its natural resources and bribes to enter the country’s gaming and lotteries sector.
The Belgian courts also meted out a €60,000 criminal fine and ordered the confiscation of €600,000 of the former politician turned consultant’s assets.
A Belgian judicial investigation had been launched into Kubla’s activities in 2015 and it was extended after he confessed during questioning that he had laundered money through a Swiss bank account.
Kubla was incarcerated in early 2015 after being accused of “corruption involving a person holding public office in a foreign state”, namely former Congolese Prime Minister Adolphe Muzito.
Kubla served as a consultant and intermediary for the Italian-Swiss Duferco industrial group, which was said to have tried to gain favour for investments in the gaming and lotteries and mining sectors by corrupting Congolese officials.
The investigators looked into Socagexi Ltd, a shell company created in Malta by Serge Kubla through which he billed a Duferco company – the Liechtenstein-based Ironet – for ‘consultancy fees’ of €260,000 per year since 2009.
To this day, Kubla is the sole shareholder and director of the Maltese company.
Investigators also looked into a Swiss account Kubla opened with private bankers Pitchet, from which he allegedly withdrew hundreds of thousands of euros in cash through a branch in Luxembourg.
During the trial held over recent weeks, Belgian public prosecutors argued corruption after investigations revealed Kubla’s Malta-based consultancy company, Socagexi, as well as fund transfers through a Duferco subsidiary in Liechtenstein for purported lobbying services.
Investigators also found there had been no contract between Duferco and Kubla for the consultancies and it was only later that the situation was regularised.
The investigation into Kubla’s activities in the Congo between 2010 and 2012 was sparked off in June 2014 after the disappearance in Congo of Stéphane De Witte, a former Duferco accountant who was handling Duferco’s investments in the country.
Documents submitted to the authorities by the missing accountant’s ex-wife mentioned Kubla.
The court found Kubla had participated in acts of corruption between 2010 and 2012 when he carried out consultancies for Duferco.
He had admitted to having been present when tens of thousands of euros were handed over to a manager of the Congolese national lottery company Sonal. The sum had been described by Kubla as a “starting entry fee” for market entry.
In 2010, Duferco injected funds into Sonal to place itself in a better position to be granted mining deposit rights in Congo.
As part of the deal, Kubla – who was acting as an intermediary for Duferco in the Congo and other African countries – said bribes amounting to $500,000 were paid to Sonal managers and Congolese political leaders.
Muscat’s Consultancy fees and payments come to mind.
The FIAU are like fish out of the water.
EZATT- taparsi konsulent biex jahsel il-hmieg li halla warajh. Isda d-dnub hu, li ma jistax jahsel isem Malta li hammeg hu u shabu. FEJN HI L-GUSTIZZJA?