Former Anderlecht chief charged in Mitrovic transfer investigation

Herman Van Holsbeeck was one of Anderlecht’s most senior executives before being fired in April 2018. (AFP pic)

BRUSSELS: Former Anderlecht general manager Herman Van Holsbeeck was charged on Friday with corruption and money laundering related to, the Belgian federal prosecutor said.

Van Holsbeeck was arrested on Thursday. After spending a night in custody, he was taken before the investigating judge handling the case.

A statement from the federal prosecutor said Van Holsbeeck was charged in Brussels with “private corruption, money laundering, forgery and the use of forgeries and criminal associations.”

“Mr. HVH was released,” the statement said. “On the double condition that he had no contact with the football world and that he would no longer engage in any financial transactions other than those necessary for everyday life.”

Van Holsbeeck, Anderlecht’s manager from 2003 to 2018, is the third suspect charged in a probe which reemerged in public view this week with searches in Belgium, Monaco and London.

According to a source close to the investigation, the Belgian courts suspect fraudulent payments in two moves involving Aleksandar Mitrovic and Anderlecht.

The first was in 2013 when the Serbian striker joined the Brussels club from Partizan Belgrade for about €5 million and the second in 2015 when he was sold to Newcastle for about €18 million.

Belgian players’ agent Christophe Henrotay, reportedly suspected of involvement at least in the “incoming transfer” from Partizan, was charged on Wednesday in Monaco, where he is based.

Henrotay, the son of a former footballer who became a director of Standard Liege, is the agent for Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, and Belgian internationals Kevin Mirallas and Yannick Carrasco.

Van Holsbeeck, 64, was for 15 years one of Anderlecht’s most senior executives before being fired in April 2018 after billionaire Marc Coucke bought the club at the end of 2017.

Belgian media reported that Van Holsbeeck received illegal payments in several transfers. In addition to the Mitrovic deals, local media pointed to the €26 euro sale of Youri Tielemans, another Belgian international, by Anderlecht to AS Monaco in 2017.