Belgian driver with €6.2 million in outstanding fines stopped (update)

On Wednesday, during an extensive joint police and customs control in South Limburg, a motorist was intercepted with outstanding fines totaling at least 6,238,607 euros. The man – an 81-year-old Limburg advertiser – could not pay the amount, causing the police to confiscate his vehicle.

Jean-Paul N. was sentenced to four years in prison in 2016 for million-dollar fraud and never paid the fine of 6.2 million euros he received. Jean-Paul N. founded the advertising company Publi Belgium in Hasselt and has earned money for years in Formula 1.

Bernie Ecclestone

Through his connections with Bernie Ecclestone, the former chief executive of the Formula One Group, the company was allowed to supply advertising panels along circuits worldwide. A multi-million dollar business, but in 2013, it came to light that both manager Jean-Paul N. and his accountant were cheating.

In 2016, the Hasselt criminal court sentenced Jean-Paul N. to four years in prison for, among other things, forgery, tax fraud, money laundering crimes, and tax fraud. The man served his prison sentence with an ankle monitor.

‘White-collar criminals’

To this day, the treasury has not seen (almost) a cent of the 6.2 million euros that Jean-Paul N. had to forfeit. The man now has thirty days to comply and pay the fine. If this does not happen, the car will be seized and sold. If an unpaid amount remains, which will undoubtedly be the case here, FPS Finance has a range of other resources available to collect the amount.

The question remains: How is it possible that the state has still been unable to reclaim a euro eight years after the verdict? Francis Adyns of FPS Finance explains in the newspaper Het Nieuwsblad: “It is often extremely difficult for people convicted of matters such as tax fraud and money laundering to find money. These types of white-collar criminals usually know very well how to make themselves incapacitated. Or they move abroad.”

Publi Belgium is still active, but none of the family members still have shares in the business. The company has been sold to third parties without any connection to the fraudulent money laundering practices.

Other violations

Apart from the man with the outstanding fines, officials from Customs and Excise and the Flemish tax authorities (Vlabel) collected more than 18,000 euros for driving red diesel, uninspected and unregistered vehicles, and outstanding fines.

Thirteen people were driving under the influence of drugs. Their driver’s license was immediately revoked. Seven vehicles were towed. Three people had no valid driver’s license, and one was given a lifelong driving ban. Furthermore, three drivers were caught using mobile phones while driving, and their driver’s licenses were revoked.

The police zones of Limburg Region Hoofdstad, Trudo, and Borgloon, together with the Limburg road police, customs, the food agency FAVV, the Flemish tax authorities, and the federal employment service, took part in the large-scale action.


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