BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A 92-year-old woman who defrauded the Belgian tax authorities of millions of euros over many decades was spared jail on Wednesday but must pay over 4 million euros in fines and back taxes.
Branded by prosecutors as “maniacal” about managing her money, the woman named only as Betty W., won a reprieve from the Ghent appeal court from having to serve six months in prison. However, a 16-month suspended sentence stands, as does a 600,000 euro ($684,300) fine, according to newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws.
The judges also increased the amount she must repay to the state by some 50 percent to 3.7 million euros to take account of frauds which prosecutors said dated back 40 years as W. concealed her wealth in Panama and elsewhere. The scam came to light through a leak of records at a Swiss bank.
The woman’s 62-year-old son was also spared jail, receiving an 8-month suspended sentence on appeal.
Reporting by Clare Roth; Editing by Alastair Macdonald