Puigdemont settles in Waterloo

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By Natalie Huet  with RTBF, EVN, EFE
Puigdemont settles in Waterloo

A 550-square-metre house with six bedrooms, three bathrooms and a sauna: not too shabby for an exiled politician.

The home former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont is rumoured to have chosen in the Belgian city of Waterloo, about 20 kilometres south of Brussels, has a rent of 4,400 euros, local media report.

Mayor of Waterloo Florence Reuter confirmed on Friday (February 2) that the fugitive separatist leader had settled in her town.

Quite fittingly for a man who has evaded the Spanish justice system for months, the house is located on rue de l'Avocat (Lawyer's street).

There are vans coming and going from the house, and journalists regularly posted outside.

Puigdemont will even have a Catalan neighbour, Maria, but she's not welcoming him with open arms.

"I came here to make sure he was here, and indeed there are people coming and going so there's a strong chance Puigdemont really is here –when he should be in Spain, answering for his actions before the Spanish courts," she said.

"He has nothing to do here. He's a fugitive, a coward and he must go back to Spain to face the judges."

Some see in Puigdemont's move a sign he has no intention to return to Spain, where he faces charges of sedition over Catalonia's banned October 1 independence referendum.

Spain's government spokesman was quick to mock his choice of Waterloo - where Napoleon Bonaparte was finally defeated.