Brink's security facing fraud charge in Belgium
US security firm Brink's, best known for its armoured cash vans, is facing charges of bankruptcy fraud after declaring its Belgian subsidy in the red and firing 450 staff, the prosecutor's office said Tuesday.
"An inquiry for misuse of social assets had been opened," a spokesman for the prosecutor, Jean-Marie Meilleur, told AFP.
The judicial inquiry is separate to a bankruptcy investigation currently before the Brussels commercial tribunal.
The Philadelphia-based firm declared the company bankrupt last Friday after two weeks of strikes and protests by staff, who were facing a change in job description and pay in line with the firm's cost-cutting plans.
Trade unionists immediately decried a "fraud", with the prosecutor's office appearing to fall in line.
It said the firm's declaration of bankruptcy was "not receivable" as it was "premature and therefore unfounded."
The spokesman also noted that the Belgian subsidiary had recently channelled its most profitable business, diamond transport, into a new company called Brink's Diamond & Jewelry, without financial compensation to the original firm.
Belgian newspaper Le Soir said the company's main creditor was its US owner to whom it owed 11 to 14 million euros.
© 2010 AFP