Under suspicion business chief opts to sell empire

12th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

12 January 2005, AMSTERDAM — Dutch entrepreneur Erik de Vlieger has turned his back on the business world and will sell his companies due to ongoing negative publicity and judicial investigations.

12 January 2005

AMSTERDAM — Dutch entrepreneur Erik de Vlieger has turned his back on the business world and will sell his companies due to ongoing negative publicity and judicial investigations.

De Vlieger said in a press release that he has had enough of the "full-scale attack" from the Dutch judiciary and the tax office. He said there is no possibility in continuing as a businessman, claiming he is a victim of a conspiracy.

The owner of English-language newspaper The Amsterdam Times said the recent period has been extremely difficult for both himself and his family. "I have worked hard and with pleasure for 27 years. I lost that pleasure in recent times," he said.

The owner of 125 companies spread mainly across real estate, media and aviation, De Vlieger said he intends to sell all divisions to present management, with the exception of his Exel Aviation Group, news service NOS reported.

The airline is in financial troubles and De Vlieger hopes to rescue the ailing company, not as company director, but as a shareholder. He is expected to inject a massive financial investment into the company.

A new management team has already been installed and is expected to present a new business plan at the start of February.

Meanwhile, the director of Imca Media Groep, Frans Makau, also said the sale of De Vlieger's largest company, real estate corporation Imca Vastgoed, is almost complete. The company has a portfolio of more than EUR 3 billion.

The Imca Media Groep is expected to be sold within the next six to 12 months. The company presently has a turnover of EUR 38 million and makes a EUR 1 million annual profit, newspaper De Volkskrant reported.

The Editor-in-Chief for The Amsterdam Times, Kaj Leers, told Expatica on Wednesday that the newspaper had the continued backing of Imca management and that The Rotterdam Times would be launched in March. Imca will also continue publishing The Hague Times.

De Vlieger first encountered trouble when revelations surfaced last year that his recently acquired Air Holland airline had allegedly been financed for years with drugs money.

The Exel Aviation Group (EAG) is also under investigation by the public prosecutor and the tax office due to the looming bankruptcy of subsidiary airline Dutchbird, which De Vlieger only took over at the end of last year with Harm P., his business partner and right-hand man.

P. was arrested soon after the transaction on suspicion of money laundering, forgery and fraud. De Vlieger has cut all ties with P. and the ailing Dutchbird airline, but investigating authorities are still keeping close tabs on EAG. The tax office seized several airline divisions last week and on Tuesday morning.

Union chief Rog van De Unie said De Vlieger's decision to step out of the business world was "sensible and wise" given the fact that rumours and negative publicity have severely damaged the credibility of the Exel Aviation Group.

It has been alleged that De Vlieger is being blackmailed, but the entrepreneur's spokesman strongly denied the claims. De Vlieger is also suspected of links to the crime world, but this has never been proven.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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