Far-right MP steps down as committee chair in Chinese espionage scandal

Belgian far-right MP Steven Creyelman has resigned as chair of the parliamentary committee on military procurement. The MP had come under scrutiny for contacts with his brother Frank Creyelman, who was recently revealed to have been a Chinese intelligence asset.

Steven Creyelman resigned from the committee with immediate effect after his party, Vlaams Belang, asked him to do so, the party said on Thursday. "Steven Creyelman has in recent days provided insufficient and incomplete information to the party and its leader about contacts with his brother," the party said.

On Friday, Der Spiegel, the Financial Times and Le Monde revealed that Chinese spies had been using Steven's brother Frank Creyelman as an intelligence asset for more than three years.

Pushed to influence discussions

Frank Creyelman, a former Belgian senator, was also a member of Vlaams Belang before being stripped of his membership last week. He has also served as a Flemish MP and is currently still a local councillor in Mechelen.

Hundreds of leaked text messages between Frank Creyelman and Chinese intelligence officer Daniel Woo revealed how Creyelman was pushed to influence discussions in Europe on a range of issues. He was paid up to 10,000 euros in cryptocurrency per assignment.

Frank Creyelman describes how he enlisted his brother in parliament in several conversations with Woo

On Thursday, De Tijd revealed that Steven Creyelman appears much more often than previously known in the leaked messages his brother Frank exchanged with Woo. 

Steven Creyelman himself had no direct contact with the Chinese intelligence service, but Frank Creyelman describes how he enlisted his brother in parliament in several conversations with Woo.

Attempt to influence the party

Vlaams Belang said on Thursday it had been informed by Steven Creyelman that State Security had warned him this month in connection with an attempt to influence the party.

"Steven made a serious error of judgement by not informing the party"

 "In the emotionality of the last few days, Steven made a serious error of judgement by not informing the party of this," the party said.

Vlaams Belang said it was awaiting the results of State Security's investigation. "Steven has strongly condemned his brother's actions and clearly distanced himself from them. The track record of our party also shows very clearly that there was no Chinese influence, on the contrary. Vlaams Belang has always been extremely critical of China," the party said in a statement. 



#FlandersNewsService | Belgan MP Steven Creyelman of Vlaams Belang © BELGA PHOTO JONAS ROOSENS

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Flemish Parliament calls on State Security Service to investigate possible foreign spying
The Flemish parliament has asked Belgium's State Security Service (VSSE) to investigate possible espionage from abroad, according to a letter from parliament president Liesbeth Homans. The letter to the VSSE refers to media reports about former politician Frank Creyelman, who worked for years as an informant for a Chinese spy.

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