Telecoms giant Proximus, is accused of SMS-related fraud committed by several businesses in the Antwerp region.
The company may have omitted to communicate data on the matter, in spite of this being a legal obligation for operators, L’Echo stated on Friday.
The Antwerp courts have carried out an investigation on a network of SMS “facilitating” businesses in the Antwerp region. These businesses were buying vast quantities of SMS messages and allocating them various codes, as part of premium rate SMS transactions (for example voting during a TV programme, and other transactions). The majority of firms within the investigation were created in 2006 by a businessman, aged 45, who is the prime suspect in the case. Services offered concerned millions of euros but during the insolvency of one of the SMS businesses in January 2012, the liquidator was unable to access the accounts records.
Investigators discovered that these SMS businesses were part of a VAT carrousel fraud conducted via foreign countries. They claim that invoices involving large quantities of SMS messages sent by purchasers were manipulated. The total fraud was estimated to be around 1.8 million euros.
In all prosecutor is taking proceedings against eleven parties. In addition to the prime suspect, Dirk V. there are directors and co-founders of SMS businesses (which in the meantime have gone into liquidation) and directors of client businesses. The eleventh party joined in the proceedings is Proximus itself which omitted to supply data to the courts. The Antwerp Criminal Court will hear this case on May 19th and 20th.
Christopher Vincent (Source: Belga)