The Liège Court of Appeal was supposed to hear a case against Pedro R, a Portuguese businessman who faced a five-year prison sentence suspended for three years, but above all a total of more than 26 million euros between confiscations and the amount to be paid. Push back to ONSS! The course of the hearing has been somewhat disrupted since the judges learned of the death of the man suspected of committing a large-scale social dumping crime between 2011 and 2018. An event likely to lead to the extinction of public action.
It’s not completely over yet. Pedro R. was suspected of evading NSSO charges in Belgium by creating a criminal organization that committed fraud by sending labor from Portugal to Belgian construction sites. He had to answer for non-declaration of Dimona, non-declaration of workers to the National Security Office, non-payment of wages and social security contributions, forgery and use of counterfeiting and money laundering.
Ten people were tried, including his sister. On appeal, only Pedro R., suspected of being the leader of this association, was tried. He had to bear the responsibility of issuing false forms for the loan of labor from Portugal to Belgium in order to pay social laws and salaries at Portuguese rates, lower than Belgian standards. He founded four Portuguese companies and two Belgian companies with the help of his relatives. The facts were discovered when Portuguese workers were examined at the construction sites of well-established Belgian companies to which the defendant companies were supplying labour. They especially cooperated in building the Delta site.
673 workers, €70,000 in illegal benefits per month
According to the investigation, Pedro did not properly declare 673 workers in Belgium. The companies had no activity in Portugal, and all their sales came from construction sites in Belgium. Some workers have never worked in Portugal. The maximum loan period is 24 months and some workers have far exceeded this limit.
According to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the value of the illicit property amounted to approximately 70 thousand euros per month. The Labor Prosecutor’s Office further noted that this heritage advantage could have been laundered by cash deposits, payments into Spanish accounts, but also by investments in Mozambique.
Awaiting sentencing, Pedro R. was sentenced to 4 years in prison, suspended for 5 years, and a fine of €600,000. The court also confiscated an amount of 15,978,000 euros to be returned to the National Security Office. On appeal, the Public Prosecutor’s Office requested the confiscation of more than 7,120,000 euros related to money laundering and a fine of 100,000 euros doubled for the crimes that were in force in 2012. The National Security Office demanded 26,470 euros and compensation measures in the amount of 22,500 euros.
The court had postponed the case, but the death of Pedro R. changed the situation. No official document has yet confirmed this death, which does not seem to raise any doubt, but without presenting an official document proving his death, Pedro R. is considered negligent. The National Security Office wants to recover the evaded amounts. Pedro R. did not have Children, but other people can inherit it. ONNS can claim its dues from them.