Chokri Mahassine, the main organiser behind the Pukkelpop music festival, is under investigation for possible financial irregularities in the organisation, Het Nieuwsblad reports.
According to the paper, the investigation was triggered by an article on the satirical website ‘tScheldt. The article described how the Pukkelpop organisation has grown from its origins as a small non-profit into a series of companies, where financial transactions could easily go astray.
"The Limburg prosecutor's office has asked the Limburg federal judicial police to conduct an investigation to determine whether any irregularities have occurred as stated in the article," spokesperson Pieter Strauven of the prosecutor’s office told the paper.
"In the meantime, the presumption of innocence applies to all persons and organisations involved."
The main allegation in the original article concerns The Factory, the company that organises Pukkelpop. That started as a non-profit, but is now a simple commercial partnership – in other words, a private company.
In its days as a non-profit, The Factory built up a reserve of €7.7 million which, by law, should have been used for social causes and activities. Non-profits are not allowed to issue dividends and must use any surplus funds for the activities mentioned in their charter.
However, in the latest financial report, the reformed Factory lists its reserve at €3.99 million – €3.7 million less. The question investigators will be asking is: where did that money go, and what was it used for?
The paper contacted Mahassine, who was on holiday abroad.
“I have not yet been informed, I am now first waiting for the investigation to hear exactly what it is about,” he said.
“In recent years, we had to professionalise, which is why specialists have structurally fine-tuned our organisation. I have every confidence in their professional approach.”