Paris attacker’s Belgian bar shut by drug claims

Belgian policemen search for suspects in Molenbeek area (Brussels). Photo: Isopix/REX Shutterstock

One of the Paris attackers reportedly ran a bar in Brussels that was shut down because police said customers smoked marijuana there, according to a document obtained by AFP Monday.

Brahim Abdeslam, 31, who blew himself up outside a bar in Boulevard Voltaire in Paris on Friday, ran his own bar in the Belgian capital called the Cafe des Beguines, local media said.

A municipal closure order posted on the front door said Belgian police believed the bar in the impoverished, largely-immigrant Molenbeek area of Brussels was being used by clients for taking “hallucinogenic substances”.

“Police said the premises were used for the consumption of banned hallucinogenic substances, there was a strong odour of drugs and the ashtrays contained partly smoked joints,” it said.

Several customers were also found to be in possession of drugs, the document said, ordering its closure for five months from November 5 until April 4, 2016.

“The bar appears to be a place for the purchase and consumption of resinous hallucinogenic products and could cause problems for the neighbourhood and to public order in general,” it said.

One of Brahim Abdeslam’s brothers, Salah, is believed to be on the run and is wanted by French police over his alleged involvement in the Paris attacks which claimed the lives of 129 people.

A police raid on a property in Molenbeek on Monday failed to find him.

Another brother, Mohamed, was released without charge by police on Monday. He insisted that he knew nothing about the plans of his two brothers.