Belgian authorities seized 50 bags of cocaine during a search last month of the office of Socialist Minister of Education Caroline Désir, local media reported on Thursday evening.
According to La Dernière Heure newspaper, one of Désir’s staffers, who is the son of former minister and current Belgian Socialist MP Fadila Laanan, was arrested prior to the search on suspicion of drug trafficking. A total of €10,000 in cash was seized during a further search of his home.
He is understood to have been working as the treasurer for the minister’s office.
The suspect was remanded in custody at Haren prison while police conducted their initial investigations.
In response to the news, which has just come to light, the minister’s office confirmed that the man, named only as Mr. MV, is no longer employed by Désir.
“On Wednesday, Dec. 15 in the evening, we were informed that Mr. MV, who held the position of treasurer within the cabinet, was under arrest as part of an investigation into drug trafficking. On Thursday, Dec. 16, a dismissal procedure for breach of trust was carried out in compliance with the regulations applicable to ministerial offices.
“The same day, a search of his office was carried out to check whether any criminal items were there. Around fifty sachets containing white powder were discovered. Once this discovery was made, contact was made by the firm with a criminal lawyer to open collaboration with the investigating judge in charge of the investigation,” the office said.
It added that the office had complied fully with the investigation and provided access to all areas where the staff member had permission.
No other contraband was found by investigations and the authorities “have not wanted to hear from any other member of the cabinet since,” it added.