April 20, 2017 / 7:49 AM / in 9 months

Brussels prosecutors investigate Congolese passport deal

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Brussels prosecutors are investigating a deal between Belgian company Semlex and the Democratic Republic of Congo to supply biometric passports, a spokesman for the prosecutors’ office said on Thursday.

President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo (L) is seen alongside Semlex CEO Albert Karaziwan during an event to launch the country's new biometric passports at the foreign ministry in Kinshasa in this still image taken from footage shot in November 2015 and made available to Reuters March 19, 2017. RTNC/Handout via REUTERS TV

He said the investigation had started in early 2017 but declined to give any further details.

A Reuters special report last week showed that $60 of the price of every $185 DRC passport is channelled to a company registered in the United Arab Emirates, believed to be owned by a close relative of DRC President Joseph Kabila.

Brussels-based Semlex, which has become a leader in providing identity and travel documents for African nations over the past 20 years, was not immediately available for comment.

Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Louise Ireland

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