Romanian involved in the theft of over 2 million liters of kerosene from a NATO pipeline in Belgium
A court in Hainaut, Belgium, handed down the sentences earlier this week for members of a gang of thieves who stole a huge amount of kerosene from NATO pipelines. This gang also included a Romanian, who played the role of driver.
The leader of the gang, a man of Russian origin, was sentenced to 8 years in prison. In total, the gang members stole 2 million liters of kerosene from a pipeline that crossed the city of Beloeil, according to Sud Info. In addition to the prison sentence, the gang leader was also ordered by the court to pay a fine of 240,000 euros. The Romanian defendant, who played the role of driver in the gang, was acquitted.
A third member of the gang, an Italian, initially considered by prosecutors to be the leader of this criminal organization, was sentenced to 4 years in prison and a fine of 160,000 euros. The investigation determined that he had a supporting role in the gang. The prosecution demanded the immediate imprisonment of the gang members. The Italian defendant’s lawyer objected, saying his client was in Italy and wanted to serve his sentence in his home country. The Russian defendant ended up behind bars. The case came to light in the summer of 2019.
A Belgian official submitted a notification to the relevant authorities in which he said he had found abnormal pressure drops on the pipeline located between Quevaucamps (Beloeil) and Rumes, starting in December 2018. On September 17, 2019 , an Italian-registered truck was stopped in a shelter on a highway in Froyennes. It was transporting kerosene.
The truck’s driver was Italian, also acquitted by the court. Following his statements, the police discovered a pipe connected to the NATO pipeline that had an outlet in a warehouse located in Basècles (Beloeil), a warehouse rented by a Moldovan citizen who had been led a transport company since 2014. The latter was sentenced to 3 years in prison.
The warehouse was permanently guarded by two other men from Eastern Europe, also sentenced to 2 years in prison.