Belgian foreign minister denies that he advised friends to shed Fortis shares

Business Materials 4 November 2008 00:44 (UTC +04:00)

Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht denies allegations that he warned friends and family to offload shares of troubled lender Fortis NV as it sought government help, the Associated Press reported.

The government confirms that financial regulators will investigate an anonymous complaint accusing de Gucht of insider dealing.

Humo magazine said De Gucht's wife and friends allegedly shed large numbers of Fortis shares just ahead of a vital government decision in early October that carved up the bank and caused its share price to plummet.

De Gucht denied Monday selling any Fortis shares. He said his wife and brother-in-law acted independently when they sold "a small package" of Fortiss share belonging to their mother.