Corruption probe widens in gangland murder appeal

Hamza B.'s family did not only bribe Moroccan judges for a reduced sentence, but also the police in Tangier. Hamza B. has been convicted for involvement in the Staatsliedenbuurt assassinations in 2012.

These allegations were made by witness Abdelkhaliq Belhadji to Dutch detectives, according to a report of the questioning on November 10th last year, the Volkskrant reports. The newspaper has this report in its possession.

According to Belhadji, Tangier officers asked B.'s father for bribes after they wanted to arrest the father for being complicit in hiding his fugitive son. B. fled to Morocco late in 2012. Then in the summer of 2014, B. senior bribed the judges. Belhadji claims hat the judges received 180 thousand euros in bribes to reduce Hamza B.'s sentence. He was eventually sentenced to 20 years in prison, while his two accomplices got life in the Netherlands.

Belhadji also claims that B.'s father and brother approached a prosecutor and offered him money to act as intermediary in bribing the judges, but he refused to cooperate. B. senior then approached the officers he previously bribed and gave them money to bribe the judges. The witness gave the police four names of people who were aware of the bribes.

B.'s lawyer saw Belhadji's statement for the first time on Thursday. He is "stunned", according to the Volkskrant. He rejects the accusations as lies and does not expect that the Supreme Court in Rabat, that is investigating the allegations, will remove the judges from the case. "180 thousand euros for 20 years is unbelievable. The family does not even have that money", the lawyer said.

The appeal has been postponed until August 27th.