Belgian judge charges Paris attack suspect's brother with armed robbery

BRUSSELS (REUTERS) - A Belgian judge on Saturday (Feb 24) charged the brother of Salah Abdeslam, the prime surviving suspect in the November 2015 attacks in Paris that killed 130 people, with armed robbery.

A spokeswoman for Belgian prosecutors Ine Van Wymersch confirmed the charge against Mohamed Abdeslam who was one of two people charged, while two others were released following their arrests on Thursday.

Belgian media quoted Mohamed Abdeslam's lawyer as saying he denied the charge.

Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure said Mohamed Abdeslam, who was wielding a knife, had robbed 70,000 euros (S$113,580) from Molenbeek municipal employees who had been on their way to deposit the money in a bank. The incident took place in January.

His brother Salah Abdeslam was arrested in Molenbeek close to his family home in March 2016 after the November 2015 attacks in Paris which were claimed by Islamic State.

Lawyers for Salah Abdeslam, a French citizen born to and raised by Moroccan immigrant parents in Brussels, accept he was in Paris when gunmen and suicide bombers killed 130 at a rock concert, near the national stadium and outside cafes.

However, he has refused to speak about the attacks to investigators.