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Operation Arco: Belvius turns "Great Deception" into firewood

Operation Arco: Belvius turns “Great Deception” into firewood

Belvius’ attorney accuses Deminor of being guilty of fraud in the Arco case.

Dominic Blumert pulled out a series of arguments to prove that Belvius Bank was not guilty of the alleged “great deception” that took place over a period of 30 to 40 years.

Blumert criticized the burden of proof brought by Deminor, which charges on behalf of 2,172 collaborators. According to Blumert, the fact that a surprise survey was presented in October 2020, in which the cooperatives were asked about the circumstances in which they purchased their Arcopar shares, turned things around. “They will be called in 2014 and in 2020 they will check with their supporters what really happened at that time?”

According to Belvius’ lawyer, the way the shares were sold is also seen through the wrong glasses. People work with the knowledge gained then and rely on regulations that did not exist at the time. The facts must be placed in the context that was applicable at the time. Strict Investment Rules (Mifid) that only providers of financial products must adhere to as of 2004.’

Blommaert sees the same problem with the charge of hiding investment risk. No bank was ever seen as a risky investment at the time. No one expected the 2008 financial crisis.

financial crisis

Belvius’ attorney also featured a number of articles from a financial newspaper where co-op stocks were regularly described as safe and financially attractive. According to Blommaert, this is a guide to how stocks were valued at the time. Thinking changed only after the financial crisis.

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The attorney also criticized the argument that Bacob Bank in Chicago at the time was making a risky investment. Minority stake in subsidiary Benelux which was sold at a profit in 1996. Who is misleading from here?

Another problem, according to Belvius’ attorney, was that the bank was just a middleman. Much of Deminor’s evidence relates to the Arco documents. Deminor will provide quite a few documents showing that Belfius wrote for the clients themselves.

Cooperatives

According to Blumert, the 2,172 plaintiffs are not a homogeneous group, but a heterogeneous group of claimants who have intervened at different times. This means, according to attorney Beno Allt Allemeersch, who also represents Belfius, that the issue of the prescription must be considered separately for each collaborator. Likewise, each collaborator must state separately when and how he was deceived. So the court will have to decide whether this information is decisive in making an investment decision. Later today, the Belgian state will defend itself.