On Thursday, at the request of investigative judge Martine Michel, who is leading the investigation into the Gang of Nivelles, the French police conducted a search of (ex) gangster Francis V (57). He has been staying in the South of France for a long time.
According to our information, ammunition and a grenade were found. But V. was released after questioning. It is unclear why exactly the investigators visited V.
The federal prosecutor’s office does not want to comment. V. is described as a two-meter tall man. He is not suspected of direct involvement in any gang attacks.
V. was close to the extreme right-wing environment in the 1980s, where some say the members of the Gang of Nivelles should be sought. V. is anything but a choirboy. On February 5, 1991, he was sentenced to life in front of the Assize Court in Liège along with his infamous companion Eric Lammers. On April 13, 1988, the two had robbed and murdered two diamond dealers -Ludo and Patrick Moons- in the center of the Antwerp diamond district. It was not their first act together. In an armed robbery in 1984, they also stole six paintings by Ensor.
In 2007, V. was also on trial in Brussels for the production of porn videos in which he also portrayed himself.
More than a gangster
Lammers was more than just a gangster. In a documentary that RTBF made in 2014 about the Gang of Nivelles, Lammers said that he explored department stores in the 1980s that were later attacked by the gang. He did this as a member of the extreme right-wing group Westland New Post (WNP). One of the leaders of WNP was Michel Libert.
Years ago, researchers at WNP effectively recovered plans from department stores, but not from the department stores raided by the Gang of Nivelles. Partly for this reason and in the absence of other evidence, the track to the organization was then closed. Libert was arrested several times, but also released again.
The track to the extreme right is one of the tracks in which the new research cell has once again engaged.