Laws intended to prevent bankruptcy fraud hardly work, if at all. This is the conclusion of the Regioplan research agency and the Scientific Research and Documentation Center.
There are thousands of bankruptcies every year, especially of companies and institutions. According to estimates, fraud occurs in a quarter to a third of these.
For example, just before bankruptcy, a director can transfer money to his own accounts, or park a company car elsewhere. Creditors, such as suppliers and employees, can therefore claim less money.
Curators also receive less money
Since 2017, a curator, who is appointed by the court to handle the bankruptcy, has been obliged to investigate this type of fraud. But according to Regioplan researchers, this investigation often remains limited, because the curator hardly gets paid in the event of bankruptcy fraud.
This is because curators are also paid from the estate, or the assets that are still in a company. If the estate is virtually empty, the curators will also not be paid or will only be partially paid.
Another problem, according to the researchers, is that the FIOD and the Public Prosecution Service hardly pick up the reports from curators. As a result, curators are less willing to report suspicious transactions.
Administrative bans are also issued less often
Since 2016, trustees have also had another weapon at their disposal: they can request a management ban of up to five years for fraudulent entrepreneurs. When the measure was introduced, it was expected that dozens of these types of bans would be imposed per year.
But this measure also works less well than expected: so far, the researchers have counted a total of 46 of these types of bans. Another factor here is that a curator is paid from the estate for such a long and complicated procedure.
In addition, the ban is ultimately easy to avoid. This way, fraudulent entrepreneurs can start a company again abroad, or in someone else’s name.