Eddy Merckx corruption case dropped by Belgian authorities

The cycling legend faced being prosecuted over allegations of bribing the police

Cycling legend Eddy Merckx (Photo: Yuzuru SUNADA)
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Belgian cycling legend Eddy Merckx will not faces charges over allegations he was involved in bribing police.

The accusations related to the purchasing of 46 bikes for the cycling unit of the Brussels-Midi police force, with Merckx allegedly using false documents and rewarding a police officer.

The 73-year-old was one of 13 people accused in the case but he will not face legal action, according to the The Brussels Times.

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Merckx will not be charged because the time limit on prosecution has now passed.

Spokesperson for the Brussels prosecutor’s office, Ine Van Wymersch, said: “[The delay] is due to various factors.

“We regret this, because it sends out a wrong signal.

“This was a very extensive dossier, and we are only able to work with the resources we are given.”

Merckx faced being charged over alleged irregular procedures in 2006 and 2007 in relation to his previous duties at Cycles EddyMerckx.

The allegations were that a police officer gave Merckx inside information around rival bidders to help him win the €15,000 (£13,000) contract.

Merckx was suspected of rewarding the police officer with a cut price deal on a high-end carbon bike and giving a bike to the officer’s wife.

The officer denied the allegations and Merckx previously said he had “nothing to say” and “we’ll see what happens.”

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A judicial enquiry was started in 2007 and was completed in 2016.

Information was passed to the public prosecutor in Brussels, but a court ruled this week that the time limit for prosecution has now passed.

Eddy Merckx founded Cycles EddyMerckx two years after his retirement from his highly successful 18-year career. He stepped down for his role as chief executive of the company in 2008.

None of the people accused will be prosecuted, including the officer in question or other officers involved.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.