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Ryanair faces Belgium fraud claims

Published on 23/11/2005

23 November 2005

BRUSSELS — The Belgian judiciary has accused Irish budget airline Ryanair of forgery and fiscal fraud, it was revealed on Wednesday. 

Federal police in Charleroi have summoned two directors of the company, Michael Cawley and Bernard Berger, to answer questions about the allegations at the start of December.

Ryanair is alleged to have used Wallonian government support to issue passengers with ‘free tickets’ in a promotional offer.

However, the Wallonian region financed half of the ‘free’ ticket prices via the publicity firm Promocy, Francophone newspapers ‘La Meuse’ and ‘La Nouvelle Gazette’ reported on Wednesday.

Besides the two Ryanair directors, two directors of the Brussels South Charleroi Airport (BSCA) are also linked to Promocy. The former have already been questioned by police.

According to Wallonian Economy Minister Serge Kubla, the regional government’s contribution was half of the funding used to pay for advertising to promote the Charleroi Airport’s development.

“It is a system with which I have no problems with,” he said.

However, the Charleroi public prosecution office has raised concerns about the validity of some accounts drawn up by Ryanair, newspaper ‘De Tijd’ reported.

Allegations range from non-existent companies, to amounts of money that are difficult to verify or tax avoidance via the society that administers the website.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news