Belgium: Airport CEO fired for serious misconduct, corruption

The dismissal was decided by the board of directors following the conclusions of an audit report carried out by Deloitte.

According to several news reports, Luc Partoune, CEO of the Liege Airport in Belgium has been dismissed for serious misconduct. Partoune had been CEO of the Liege Airport since 1994.

The Liege airport’s board of directors reportedly conducted an urgent meeting on Tuesday. The board focused on the results of an internal investigation carried out by Deloitte. The grave accusations revealed by the investigation noted about 40 offences and irregularities committed by the former CEO, such as fictitious jobs, unjustified expense reports, the hiring of questionable consultants, and rigged public contracts, and non-compliance with bidding and public procurement procedures.

The misconduct includes the hiring of a consultant 2 years ago. According to his agreement with the airport, the consultant was allowed to bill five days of work/month at 1,000 euros, for a total of 60,000 euros per year. The consultant only rendered real services once or twice in the last two years.

In short, Mr. Partoune is being accused of illicit enrichment and corruption. These irregularities were deemed sufficient by the board of directors to dismiss him. It would be interesting to follow whether he will be pursued by the authorities in his personal capacity.

The Belgian authorities did open a judicial investigation on Nethys, the parent company of the Liege Airport, for obstructing the freedom of auctions and for corruption. Nethys, is a public holding company, which had itself serious corruption problems with its managers in the recent past.

Belgium seems to be following on the footsteps of several other countries who have increased their scrutiny over corruption in the aviation sector.

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