be prosecuted before the correctional court. The Brussels council chamber postponed the decision this morning.
After twelve years, the curtain does not fall on the criminal investigation into the demise of Fortis. Seven ex-bank executives, including former chairman Maurice Lippens, Jean-Paul Votron and Filip Dierckx, had to appear this morning in the council chamber in Brussels. He had to decide whether or not to refer them to the court for, among other things, falsifying financial statements and scams.
But that council chamber postponed the decision until 8 and 9 June. This is to give the parties the opportunity to exchange conclusions and prepare their arguments. For procedural reasons.
Insufficient hard evidence
The chance that those Fortis top executives will actually have to appear before the correctional court is almost nil. The Brussels public prosecutor had already announced that they should not – in their view – be brought to court, partly because it was not certain that the crime of forgery could be demonstrated in annual accounts and their use. In other words, there is insufficient hard evidence. According to the Brussels public prosecutor, the other facts had become time-barred as a result of the loss of indictment.
Moreover, it is also expected that on 8 and 9 June all victims who signed the amicable settlement with Fortis-heir Ageas – whereby 290,000 investors could share a compensation of 1.3 billion among themselves – will also renounce their civil party claim. This means that there is a good chance that the Brussels Chamber will definitively close the Belgian criminal file, although an appeal and cassation can still be brought against that decision.
In the Netherlands there are also a few small lawsuits against the ex-Fortis top. A few weeks ago, there was another session in the Kortekaas case, in which a Dutch millionaire and six Dutch victims still claim compensation from three former Fortis directors, including President Maurice Lippens and CEO Jean-Paul Votron for deception. There, the court gave the parties involved until 8 March to reach an amicable settlement among themselves.