Europe

Accused Belgian plotter says he was just 'talking bull'

  • A man gestures as he talks to judges during a trial of a suspected extremist cell linked to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the now-dead ringleader of last year's lethal attacks in Paris, at the Justice Palace in Brussels on Thursday May 12, 2016. Sixteen defendants, including nine who are still at large, are accused of involvement in what Belgian authorities say was a terrorist plot being mounted in the eastern city of Verviers. Lawyers for some of the accused contend their clients did nothing illegal. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

    A man gestures as he talks to judges during a trial of a suspected extremist cell linked to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the now-dead ringleader of last year's lethal attacks in Paris, at the Justice Palace in Brussels on Thursday May 12, 2016. Sixteen defendants, including nine who are still at large, are accused of involvement in what Belgian authorities say was a terrorist plot being mounted in the eastern city of Verviers. Lawyers for some of the accused contend their clients did nothing illegal. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)  (The Associated Press)

  • A police officer guards the entrance to the court room during a trial of a suspected extremist cell linked to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the now-dead ringleader of last year's lethal attacks in Paris, at the Justice Palace in Brussels on Thursday May 12, 2016. Sixteen defendants, including nine who are still at large, are accused of involvement in what Belgian authorities say was a terrorist plot being mounted in the eastern city of Verviers. Lawyers for some of the accused contend their clients did nothing illegal. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

    A police officer guards the entrance to the court room during a trial of a suspected extremist cell linked to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the now-dead ringleader of last year's lethal attacks in Paris, at the Justice Palace in Brussels on Thursday May 12, 2016. Sixteen defendants, including nine who are still at large, are accused of involvement in what Belgian authorities say was a terrorist plot being mounted in the eastern city of Verviers. Lawyers for some of the accused contend their clients did nothing illegal. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)  (The Associated Press)

  • Judges arrive for a trial of a suspected extremist cell linked to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the now-dead ringleader of last year's lethal attacks in Paris, at the Justice Palace in Brussels on Thursday May 12, 2016. Sixteen defendants, including nine who are still at large, are accused of involvement in what Belgian authorities say was a terrorist plot being mounted in the eastern city of Verviers. Lawyers for some of the accused contend their clients did nothing illegal. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

    Judges arrive for a trial of a suspected extremist cell linked to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the now-dead ringleader of last year's lethal attacks in Paris, at the Justice Palace in Brussels on Thursday May 12, 2016. Sixteen defendants, including nine who are still at large, are accused of involvement in what Belgian authorities say was a terrorist plot being mounted in the eastern city of Verviers. Lawyers for some of the accused contend their clients did nothing illegal. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)  (The Associated Press)

For Belgian authorities, he's "Big Guy," a key actor in an extremist plot foiled just in time that was run remotely by the ringleader of last fall's gun and bomb attacks in Paris.

But former security guard Mourane El Bali told a Brussels court Thursday that if he's guilty of anything, it's of talking big.

According to the court record, the 26-year-old was heard on a wiretapped phone announcing in code that he had managed to buy a Kalashnikov-style assault rifle for 1,200 euros (about $1,360).

"I was talking bull more than anything else," El Bali told the judge.

He is on trial with six other men accused of belonging to a group linked to Islamic militants that was broken up in the Belgian city of Verviers in January 2015.