Back in July 27, 2008 Belgian newspapers presented sizzling news about a villa fire in Merkplas, where two bleeding shot victims were found by the firefighters. One of them, the owner of the villa, who had multiple shots in his right arm, and one in his right temple was still alive. The other victim, a 27 old girl of Anderlecht shot twice in her head was dead. It seemed to be a burglary, which happened in the night, and the attacker may put the roof on fire in order to cover his tracks. The fire started at around 00:30 in the night. Neighbors alerted the firefighters, who were able to stop the fire by the morning hours. The firefighters used the chlorinated water of the nearby swimming pool, which erased many of the tracks, which could be eventually used by the criminal investigators to establish, what happened in fact.
The owner of the villa was a Dutch businessman, who may had several enemies. He was involved in selling plasma TV sets and mobile phones in bulk, and several clients complained that they had to pay large amounts in advance, and the goods never arrived. The businessman’s company was already bankrupt, while he made to vanish several helicopters and a luxury car. It was said that he was involved in VAT carousel fraud and other dubious affairs. Later, in 2013 he was found guilty by the court for fraud.
After his recovery in hospital, prosecutor had the suspicion of a stage, and accused the Dutch businessman Wim B. of murder and willfully burning his villa. He was arrested in December 2008. Wim B. defended himself argumentation about the lack of his blood on the weapon, lack of gunpowder traces on him, thus he was not who fired the gun. The firemen asserted that on entering the room, the cover completely covered the two bodies. Wim B, had another argument, saying that he had gunshots wounds on his right arm, how he could shoot his own right temple with his left hand, and with his eye wounded in the shot, how would he had the presence of mind to pull the blanket over their heads. So somebody else did that, the murderer. After years of debate, he was released from the prison, but the case is not over yer.
Another oddity in the villa fire and murder case is, that soon after the fire, two men were stopped by police for trying to enter the villa, allegedly to pick a bicycle. Although these two men had in their car burglar tools, they were not arrested for lack of proof of crime.
During the investigations, another suspect was former boyfriend of the killed girl, Marco De Keuster, but he had a solid alibi, because in the night of the crime he was celebrating his birthday at a barbecue party together with friends. His friends confirmed his alibi, but they remarked that Marco was unusually nervous, and he was texting messages, like someone waiting for important news. In the meanwhile, Wim B. declared as witness, that in the night before the fire, while he was going home with the girl, who was his girlfriend since March, the girl sent a text message, and she explained that she was “getting messages from a girl, who is annoying her, but now is all over”.
Marco De Keuster was the boyfriend of the girl, before she met Wim B. Marco was also working for a close friend of Dirk Laureyssens, Mr. A. His role in this affair is still not cleared. He became the key witness.
He gave a six pages testimony, clarifying the Ducth businessman. He knew many details related to the victim’s stay in Dubai with Wim B. two months before the murder, he knew the flight number, flight schedule and the cost of the trip. He warned the investigators that they are dealing with an environment of money and influence. He named three ministers, two of them of CD&V and one of VLD, who are cited as “relationships”. He told that the case is related to a possible financial VAT fraud of 125 million Euros.
Related the fire and the shot of the girl and of Wim B., according to information of DH.be Marco confessed that he arranged what was to be a double murder. He was sentenced for ten years for violent robbery and home jacking. He was detained in Antwerp, and he was transferred to the prison of Leuven upon his request, for security reasons. Later, in September 2009 he was found dead in his cell with his veins open. He knew too much, and now, with his death, the rest of the investigation is handicapped. An important witness disappeared.
One of our information sources hinted about a missing briefcase at the scene. The case of this villa fire and murder holds many mysteries, and the missing briefcase is just one of them. These mysteries may be connected to the world of “money and influence”, as cited by the key witness, and to his boss, Mr. A., who was in close relationship with Wim B., and who is a never convicted close friend of Dirk Laureysens, and who was involved in suspicious affairs with establishment of a network of offshore shell companies, abuse of brand names, exploitation of inventors, and possibly another case of 1999 with a missing briefcase too, as a coincidence.
But that is another story.