Eric Van de Weghe: The Spy Who Went Rogue

Eric Van de Weghe is a char­ac­ter that keeps pop­ping-up in the so-called “Kazakhgate affair” in Belgium. He was first men­tioned in the con­text of Patokh Chodiev’s nat­u­ral­iza­tion – the head of the Belgian intel­li­gence made clear that the doc­u­ments incrim­i­nat­ing Chodiev were forg­eries cre­at­ed by Van de Weghe.

He reap­peared when Armand De Decker was accused of try­ing to per­suade the French intel­li­gence to work with its Belgian coun­ter­part on the case of a cer­tain “Mr. V.” He was even invit­ed to tes­ti­fy before the Kazakhgate com­mis­sion, which he did – behind closed doors.

So who is this char­ac­ter, and how much cred­i­bil­i­ty does he have?

A short portrait

Eric Van de Weghe was born in 1966 in Brussels, as the son of a rich trad­er of antiques. He con­tin­ued his father’s tra­di­tion, and in the late 1980s he opened his own gallery in Brussels.

However, he was attract­ed by oth­er trades and habits as well. He became an infor­mant of Belgian intel­li­gence and Belgian police, until the mid-1990s, when he was black­list­ed as unre­li­able. He also devel­oped a taste for Russian mob­sters, far-right politi­cians and activists, gun smug­glers and human traffickers.

Although the Belgian intel­li­gence claims that Van de Weghe is no longer their man, the fact remains that, although he was brought to jus­tice many times for fraud, forgery and abuse of con­fi­dence, he always man­aged to get away with it. With two excep­tions, all the actions against him were prescribed.

Based on his high­ly unusu­al and unortho­dox con­nec­tions, Van de Weghe presents him­self as a “lob­by­ist.”

The Albert Raes Affair

Albert Raes was the head of the Belgian intel­li­gence from 1977 until 1990. Raes accused   Benoît de Bonvoisin, known as the Black Baron, of being a far-right agi­ta­tor. In retal­i­a­tion, de Bonvoisin accused Raes in 1995 of being a KGB agent.

De Bonvoisin pub­lished doc­u­ments to sup­port his claim. However, Albert Raes was nev­er a KGB agent: the doc­u­ments were noth­ing but forg­eries cre­at­ed by Eric Van de Weghe, who sold them to de Bonvoisin.

In November 2009 Van de Weghe was con­demned to 9 months in jail for forg­ing doc­u­ments relat­ed to Raes and sell­ing them to de Bonvoisin.

Prostitution rings and Russian Oligarchs

In 2006, Suleiman Kerimov, a Russian oli­garch, was dri­ving his Ferrari on the streets of Nice, France, when he had a hor­ri­ble car acci­dent. Using his con­nec­tions, Van de Weghe brought Kerimov to Belgium, where he treat­ed his wounds at the mil­i­tary hos­pi­tal in Neder-over-Heembeek.

Since then, Kerimov and Van de Weghe became close acquain­tances – so close, in fact, that Van de Weghe orga­nized a par­ty for Kerimov, where he brought some Brazilian mod­els. The Brazilian author­i­ties believed that the mod­els were in fact pros­ti­tutes, so they issued an inter­na­tion­al war­rant against Van de Weghe for orga­niz­ing a pros­ti­tu­tion ring.

Eventually, Van de Weghe was arrest­ed in Russia in 2009, for two months. In 2013, a court in Sao Paolo, Brazil, acquit­ted him of all charges.

Two scandals, one name

There is no doubt Van de Weghe is an exot­ic char­ac­ter. However, it is also cer­tain that he has a dark­er, more sin­is­ter side: his involve­ment in the slan­der against a for­mer head of Belgian intel­li­gence is appalling, to say the least.

In our next inves­ti­ga­tion, OSI will reveal Eric Van de Weghe’s cen­tral role in the scan­dal relat­ed to the Belgian com­pa­ny Tractebel in the late 1990s and ear­ly 2000s. This scan­dal was named “Kazakhgate” by the media, and has a lot of sim­i­lar­i­ties with the cur­rent Kazakhgate scandal.

Eric Van de Weghe: The Spy Who Went Rogue