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Belgian attorney acquitted of laundering family AB InBev shares to seek compensation

After over a decade of legal proceedings, a Belgian attorney who was cleared of money laundering and document falsification in a case involving Belgium's wealthiest family will seek compensation in Belgian courts for the harms she sustained.

Fara Chorfi, 61, was sentenced to 30 months in prison in 2019, with 15 months suspended, for money laundering and stock fraud against heirs of the world's largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev.

The Geneva Court of Justice reversed their conviction on appeal last month, erasing her sentence and restoring to her 34 million Swiss francs ($36.78 million) along with all of her frozen bank accounts and assets, as well as 5 million Swiss francs in legal fees.

Chorfi had always rejected the claims against her. In 2016, a Luxembourg court sentenced her to 24 months in prison with 15 months suspended for attempted fraud in a case concerning the 2005 will of the late AB InBev heiress Amicie de Spoelberch, widow of Luka Bailo.

Approximately 915,000 AB InBev bearer shares were withdrawn from a Luxembourg safety deposit box upon Bailo's death in 2004. His Geneva-based sons Patrice and Alexis Bailo de Spoelberch, who were adopted by Amicie de Spoelberch, contacted the law firm of Chorfi to reclaim these shares, which are worth more than 3.75 billion euros ($3.5 billion) today.

Sons of the couple fought over the lawyer's legal expenses, which included AB inBev shares obtained in the course of her work, and accused her of being responsible for the missing shares, resulting in her re-arrest in 2017.

Marc Uyttendaele, the attorney for Chorfi, said that she would seek compensation for harassment and procedural abuse in Belgian courts.

Uyttendaele stated, "The heirs used mind-blowing amounts of money and particularly dubious methods to ruin the lawyer who had loyally served their adoptive mother, and to whom they owe their fortune."



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