Ex-police officer faces eight-year sentence over database breaches in drug trial
In the Encrochat/SKY drug trial, Belgium's largest ever criminal case, the federal prosecutor on Monday demanded an eight-year prison sentence for a former inspector of the Brussels South police zone. He is accused of having searched police databases for several suspects over a period of years.
The man, BW (56), first came to the attention of investigators when documents from the National Register and police databases were found during a search of another suspect's house. Investigations later revealed that they were BW's.
The extent of his involvement only became clear later, prosecutors said, when police found hundreds of conversations showing that BW had looked up data in the databases at the request of various people and had passed it on.
"We found conversations asking to look up addresses of certain people, asking to check if certain people had been flagged, asking to cancel such a flag," said federal prosecutor Julien Moinil. "BW sent screenshots of the police database, the national register, and repeatedly asked for a fee. He also registered other people's vehicles in his name and suggested a 'visit' to someone who owed money to one of his acquaintances."
"BW sent screenshots of the police database, the national register, and repeatedly asked for a fee. He also (...) suggested a 'visit' to someone who owed money to one of his acquaintances"
According to the investigation, the former officer also gave out the names and telephone numbers of the investigating judge and the federal police detective who seized certain goods. "What's next, passing on the home addresses of judges? This gentleman is lucky that none of the people whose details he published were the victims of violence," the prosecutor said.
In early 2021, the Federal Judicial Police hacked into SKY ECC, a chat service that only ran on specially configured smartphones. With the information extracted from the decrypted chat messages, several other judicial investigations were launched and completed. A total of 129 people are on trial in the resulting process.
© BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND