Investigations into bankrupt fashion group FNG are now also leading to the Netherlands: over the years, the retailer has channelled 110 million euros to a dubious fund, without any explanation.
Four years without explanation
Fraud investigation carried out by the Antwerp Public Prosecutor's Office into FNG, the former group above Brantano, Miss Etam and Fred & Ginger, now also points to shadowy transactions in the Netherlands. The name of businessman Rens Van de Schoor, who also helped FNG in a dubious way with its IPO in Amsterdam and its Dutch expansion, turns up in the search for a missing 110 million euros.
Between 2016 and 2020, a total of 110 million euros was paid to Dutch company FIPH, a former investment vehicle of Rens Van de Schoor. Nowhere, however, can any documents be found explaining exactly what those transactions were for. This is evident from the report by the auditor who audited the accounts as part of the judicial investigation. A former employee also says that top executive Dieter Penninckx himself ordered the payments, several newspapers report.
"Fraudulent constructions and money laundering"
However, in April 2018, a further agreement was signed which stipulated that FNG could transfer a maximum of 19 million euros to FIPH, and that the latter had to account for what the money was used for. However, in 2019 and 2020, a total of 49 million euros was still being deposited. The money would also have been used for other purposes.
The judicial investigation does not yet extend to the Netherlands, but the Dutch court has already indicated that it is keeping a close eye on the case. In Antwerp, the focus is on three themes. The public prosecutor focuses in particular on "the diversion of funds from the respective companies, the setting up of certain fraudulent constructions and money laundering".