A mother in the Belgian tourist haven of Ghent has been accused by her estranged husband of selling her newborn twin boys for more than $13,000 to pay for cosmetic surgery.

Marc Poppe, 48, told an undercover reporter for Dutch television that Sonia Ringoir, 31, had sold the babies to a friend to fund liposuction, the fat removal procedure. He said the couple had searched the Internet to find a quick way to make money: "It was financially attractive to us. Of course we wouldn’t do it for nothing."

Since Belgium has no law banning the sale of children, Ringoir was charged with "degrading treatment" of the twins. She was also charged with fraud after a Dutch couple alleged she had conned them by falsely offering to be a surrogate mother. If convicted, she could face between one month and five years in jail.

After spending five days in jail, Ringoir was released last Wednesday to await the results of the police investigation. She denied the allegations, claiming she gave her babies away for free last March to a friend who could not have her own child because of a weak heart.

Last week, the shutters were down at Ringoir’s large family home in the village of Lovendegem, eight miles from Ghent. The only sign of life was her new boyfriend, Mitch, who stood smoking by the back door. He refused to comment.

In an earlier interview with a local newspaper he claimed that Poppe had "put her under pressure to have her body rebuilt," saying, “Sonia never had debts before she met Marc."

Click here to read more on this story from the Sunday Times of London.