March 17, 2015 / 2:58 PM / 5 years ago

Belgium detains steel executives on suspicion of Congo bribery

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A Belgian judge has detained two executives of Switzerland-based steel group Duferco on suspicion of bribing officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo to secure access to new markets, a spokesman for Belgium’s federal prosecutors said on Tuesday.

The prosecutors’ spokesman named the Duferco executives as Antonio Gozzi and Massimo Croci.

“They haven’t been released yet, the judge is still questioning them and will then decide how to proceed,” he said.

Duferco said in a statement that company executives were not involved in any kind of international corruption and that it adhered to strict rules of conduct in its operations.

“Gozzi and Croci declare that they have nothing to do with the case and are cooperating fully with the judges, trusting in a swift determination of the truth,” the group said in a statement.

The investigation previously led to the detention of Belgian politician Serge Kubla, who is also accused of bribing officials in the Congo. Kubla stepped down as mayor of the town of Waterloo last month.

Kubla, a former minister of the regional government of the French-speaking region of Wallonia, worked as a consultant for Duferco.

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