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Paul Emile François Henri Vanden Boeynants (Dutch pronunciation: [pɒˑu̯l vɑndənˈbuɪ̯nɑnts]) (22 May 1919 – 9 January 2001) was a Belgian politician. He served as the 41st Prime Minister of Belgium for two brief periods (1966-68 and 1978-79).

Vanden Boeynants (called "VDB" by journalists) was born in Forest, a municipality in the Brussels-Capital Region. Active as a businessman in the meat industry, he was a Representative for the PSC-CVP between 1949 and 1979. From 1961 to 1966 he led the PSC-CVP (which was in those days a single party). In 1966, he became Prime Minister of Belgium; he stayed in this post for two years. Later in 1978, he led another Belgian government which lasted until 1979. He left politics in 1995, and died of pneumonia after undergoing cardiovascular surgery in 2001.

Fraud

Convicted in 1986 for fraud and tax evasion, Vanden Boeynants escaped jail but was sentenced to three years' probation. This prevented him from pursuing mayoral aspirations in Brussels. He underwent a political rehabilitation during the early 1990s.

Kidnapping

In a political incident bizarre even by recent Belgian standards, and still the subject of dispute, Vanden Boeynants was kidnapped on 14 January 1989 by members of the Haemers criminal gang. Three days later, the criminals published a note in the leading Brussels newspaper Le Soir, demanding 30 million Belgian francs in ransom. Vanden Boeynants was released (physically unharmed) a month later, on 13 February, when an undisclosed ransom was paid to the perpetrators. Patrick Haemers, head of the gang, later committed suicide in prison, although two members of his gang managed to escape from the St-Gillis Prison in 1993.

Political offices
Preceded by
Pierre Harmel
Prime Minister of Belgium
1966-1968
Succeeded by
Gaston Eyskens
Preceded by
Paul Willem Segers
Belgian Minister of Defense
1972-1979
Succeeded by
José Desmarets
Preceded by
Leo Tindemans
Prime Minister of Belgium
1978-1979
Succeeded by
Wilfried Martens
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