Ghost companies flee Brussels
More than 7,500 ghost companies have been dissolved in Brussels over the last five years. This was reported by the newspaper L'Echo on Saturday. Many of them, however, have moved their headquarters to other regions, mainly Flanders.
Ghost companies are often set up to circumvent laws and regulations and to hide illegal activities. They exist only on paper, with a figurehead as director, and can be used to commit fraud.
Since 2019, the French-speaking commercial court in Brussels has dissolved 7,533 such companies. The number of dissolved companies increased yearly and peaked in 2023 when 2,313 companies were disbanded. The number of cases in the Dutch-speaking courts is also increasing.
According to police and judicial sources, this is due to the creation of the 'Company Dumping' platform in 2018. At that time, several authorities joined forces to clean up the ghost companies used by criminal gangs to commit social fraud and launder drug money.
"Brussels had a huge problem in 2019, with around 10,000 ghost companies. Today, the number of dormant companies is very small," says Paul Dhaeyer, president of the French-speaking commercial court.
But that doesn't stop criminal organisations from moving their ghost companies to Flemish Brabant or Walloon Brabant. This was recently demonstrated in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, where more than 400 ghost companies were discovered at one address.
© BELGA PHOTO SISKA GREMMELPREZ