Portugal Arrests Belgian Arms Trafficker Jacques Monsieur Accused of Smuggling Weapons to Libya and Iran – Al Marsad

Notorious Belgian arms trafficker, Jacques Monsieur, nicknamed “The Fox”, has been arrested by Portuguese authorities and is accused of illegal supply of military equipment to conflict zones, including Libya and Iran.

[Libya, 18 August 2019] – Belgian media agencies reported that Jacques Monsieur is one of the most infamous illegal arms trade lords to conflict zones in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, in addition to other global locations.

Mug shot of Jacques Monsieur, arrested by Portuguese authorities

A report published by the Het Laatste Nieuws detailed some of the illicit deals Jacques Monsieur had conducted, including orders for the supply of 100,000 rifles, 13 million bullets and 25 helicopters. In return, he received 88 million euros, all through illegal conduits.

Additionally, a report by the Flemish television network VTM NEWS, said that Belgian Federal Police (FAST) confirmed the arrest of the fugitive Jacques Monsieur. Monsieur was sentenced in Belgium, last year, to four years and fined  1.2 million Euros for illegally trafficking arms to Libya, Chad, Pakistan, and Iran, among others, but has been on the run since then until he was finally arrested in Evora, Portugal, where he was in hiding since his conviction in Brussels last year.

Police authorities in Portugal worked closely with federal authorities in Belgian France.

According to media reports Monsieur has a long history of suspected illicit arms trade, whether direct or indirect, and is known to authorities around the world. In June 2017, he was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment and a fine of 300,000 Euros for selling automatic weapons, ammunition, helicopters, tanks and other military equipment to countries at war including Libya, Chad, Pakistan and Iran, in violation of international sanctions. In September 2009, US authorities arrested Jack Monsieur on suspicion of involvement in arms smuggling to Iran. Belgian media outlets said at the time that Monsieur had already appeared before a US federal judge, noting that Monsieur and his Iranian aide, faced charges of trafficking weapons to Iran, including F-5 fighter jets, as well as other indictments pertaining to money laundering, smuggling and other charges.

His history of illegal trade in arms dates back to the 1980s when he supplied Iran with weapons during its long war with Iraq, and since then there have been strong suspicions in the United States of his involvement in the Iran-Contra Gate as well as in France. The news network said there had been no armed conflict in the past 35 years where Jacques Monsieur has not taken part as an arms dealer between the conflicting parties. After the First Instance Court ruling, the Belgian arms dealer appealed, but he was given a heavier sentence. Last year the Brussels Court of Appeal increased his sentence to four years with a fine of up to 1.2 million Euros, but he fled on the first flight out of Belgium after hearing of the verdict and remained at large since until his arrest in Portugal.

His Passion for Horses Led to his Arrest

Although Jacques Monsieur disappeared after the court’s verdict, a Belgian Federal Police (FAST) team tracked Jacques Monsieur down to Tarascon in the south of France, where he owned a property and a stable for his purebred horses. Monsieur was not in Tarascon when a special FAST unit conducted its search and the French premises were put under surveillance.

The Belgian Federal Police (FAST) team, which has a success record in tracing fugitive criminals, was on the lookout for Jacques Monsieur. Last month, Jacques Monsieur made a fatal mistake by ordering the transfer of nine of his horses from his stable in France to his hideout in Portugal. FAST traced all the threads from Tarascon, in the south of France to Evora in Portugal where its special team pinpointed the exact secret location where Monsieur was hiding in a country mansion complete with stables, property, and land.

Close cooperation between the security agencies in France, Belgium and Portugal led to his eventual arrest.

© Al Marsad English. 2019.