Police announce inquiry into Livange/Wickrange affair

Photo: Guy Jallay

(CS) The Luxembourg “Service de la police judiciaire” announced on Wednesday that it is launching an inquiry into the Livange/Wickrange affair, while the parliamentary debate on the matter was still ongoing.

Deputies debated the matter at hand for some four hours before voting on whether an investigative commission should look into it further.

Green deputy François Bausch opened the debate recapping the story so far, finally asking whether there had been illegal elements, such as blackmail or extortion. He questioned the motives of the contractor Rollinger to abandon his project, citing a phone call recording, which allegedly proves that members of government threatened to break Rollinger's neck.

Opposition partner Claude Meisch echoed Bausch's statement, saying that this was the most severe government crisis the country had seen in decades. He also criticised Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker's failure to address the allegations in a satisfactory manner, adding that “the game was over” and that there was enough evidence to uncover the truth.

Juncker denies allegations of blackmail

The Premier meanwhile said that he had spoken to both Interior Minister Jean-Marie Halsdorf and former Economy Minister Jeannot Krecké, who denied the allegations of blackmail put forward by the opposition.

Furthermore, Juncker said that the government had already announced back in 2009 that they were in support of a joint Livange project involving both Flavio Becca and Guy Rollinger as contractors, saying that the government stance was no secret.

Juncker added that while the former minister Fernand Boden had issued a permit for the Wickrange project, several members of the Esch council and other organisations had been opposed to the shopping centre, with questions raised about government intervention against a project that nobody wanted.

Therefore, Juncker had suggested to Rollinger to cooperate on the Livange project rather than enter into legal proceedings against the Wickrange site.

Parliament should demand resignation if they think PM is corrupt, says Juncker

The Prime Minister also refuted claims that the government had conspired against Rollinger via the banking system. He added that it was, however, normal for the government to liaise between banks and promoters, as the former will seek advice about credit worthiness and risks.

Juncker said that corruption and blackmail were severe allegation. Meanwhile, Jeannot Krecké will be seeking legal action against Rollinger in regards to the recording alleging that the former minister had threatened the entrepreneur, according to Juncker.

Finally, Juncker told Parliament to demand his resignation should they think him corrupt.

A lively debate seemed to leave both parties unsatisfied with many questions remaining unanswered.

However, 39 deputies voted against a parliamentary investigation, with 21 voting for the commission. The motion was therefore denied.

During the debate the public prosecutor announced that it would launch an investigation into the Wickrange/Livange affair.