Belgian Diplomat Accused of Helping Russia : “Stirred, not Shaken”

“During one of the phone calls we listened to, he (Oswald Gantois) said himself that he had played too much James Bond but that every diplomat must be a bit of a spy.”

Ann Fransen — Belgian federal prosecutor

‘I never accepted money … I never disclosed state secrets. I am right with myself and that is enough. This case has destroyed my life. In the eyes of the investigators I was guilty right from the start.”

Belgian diplomat Oswald Gantois

Belgian diplomat Oswald Gantois likes to compare himself to James Bond. His resemblance to MI6 OO7 agent is not however immediately apparent.

A senior Belgium diplomat has allegedly helped Russian spies for over 25 years. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today

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During his diplomatic career, Mr Gantois has worked in the US, India, Japan, Portugal and Algeria.

Belgian authorities believe that he was recruited by KGB operators in 1985 and went on to help the KGB N-line department for more than two decades.

It is rather unclear why this case was not discovered earlier. Perhaps, some information surfaced during the investigation of the Kazakhgate scandal.

The Kazakhgate scandal arguably began when three close friends of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev managed to corrupt a Belgian nuclear company, Tractebel. At about the same time, they set up money laundering front companies for the Russian KGB.

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The information Gantois passed to the KGB — and later to the SVR (its successor) — was used to create false papers and identities for their agents.

“The court heard that Gantois was wined and dined by the Russian secret services and offered money and expensive bottles of vodka for his help.”

“He never noted those lunches in his diary and he never filed expense reports,” Ann Fransen — the federal prosecutor — told the court.

“This proves that he was very aware of the clandestine character of his activities.”

“During one of the phone calls we listened to, he said himself that he had played too much James Bond but that every diplomat must be a bit of a spy.” [BBC]

A verdict is due on 13 June.

Vodka Martini:  “Shaken, Not Stirred”  

REFERENCES

‘A bit too James Bond’: Belgian diplomat goes on trial for spying for Russia — BBC

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Belgian Diplomat Accused of Helping Russia : “Stirred, not Shaken”

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