The football world has held its breath for three years and three months, but the progress in Operation Zero, better known as Clean Hands, is ready. In the document, which our editors were able to view, it appears that the federal prosecutor’s office wants to prosecute people from all walks of life in Belgian football. It concerns 57 names. Active board members of six first-class clubs: Club Brugge, AA Gent, Charleroi, Racing Genk, KV Kortrijk and Standard. Former directors of Anderlecht, Racing Genk, KV Mechelen, KV Oostende, Oud-Heverlee Leuven and Waasland-Beveren have also been suspected. Just like (former) directors of the football association and the Pro League.
Bayat en Veljkovic
The 57 have all been involved in one way or another with the practices of two top agents in Belgian football: Arnaud ‘Mogi’ Bayat and Dejan Veljkovic. Bayat is one of 57 suspects the prosecutor wants to prosecute. He is suspected of forgery in various transfers. Dejan Veljkovic will not be prosecuted. As is known, he previously concluded a deal with the federal prosecutor and is now officially regretful.
Verhaeghe, Mannaert, Louwagie, Venanzi
The investigation into Bayat and Veljkovic discredited several clubs and club leaders who concluded dubious contracts with one (or both) of the brokers. Among them heavyweights such as Club chairman Bart Verhaeghe, manager Vincent Mannaert, AA Gent manager Michel Louwagie, Standard chairman Bruno Venanzi, Charleroi director Mehdi Bayat and KV Kortrijk manager Matthias Leterme. They are being prosecuted for forgery. Among the ex-drivers, the name of Patrick Janssens, ex-CEO of Racing Genk, stands out.
Vertenten and Delferière
Some former club leaders of KV Mechelen and Waasland Beveren are being prosecuted for corruption. This concerns the already known case of match fixing for the KV Mechelen-Waasland-Beveren match, the decisive match in the relegation battle of the 2017-2018 season.
The federal prosecutor also sees indications of corruption against referees Sebastien Delferière and Bart Vertenten. Delferière was close friends with regret optant Dejan Veljkovic, Vertenten whistled a dubious penalty in the Antwerp-Eupen match, also in the relegation battle of the 2017-2018 season.
Van Holsbeeck, Leko, Maes
A series of trainers and administrators are being prosecuted for corruption for allegedly being paid by brokers for transfers. These include ex-Club trainer Ivan Leko and former Anderlecht manager Herman Van Holsbeeck. The names of trainers Peter Maes, Glen De Boeck and Yannick Ferrera are also in the claim. Just like that of Erwin Lemmens, currently goalkeeper coach of the national team and member of the technical staff of national coach Roberto Martinez.
In addition to the 57 people that the public prosecutor wants to bring to court, dozens of other people are only being prosecuted for tax purposes. Players and trainers who had part of their wages paid in black through all kinds of dubious constructions will receive a hefty bill from the tax authorities.
The federal prosecutor’s final claim is only the first step towards a lawsuit. On January 27, the file first comes before the Indictment Chamber (AI) for the BOM check. This is a check that the AI must exercise on the special investigative techniques used in the file. This file concerns an observation of a number of suspects.
Only then do the 57 appear before the council chamber, which must decide which of them should appear in court. There is no doubt that several of them will try to reach an amicable (financial) settlement.