Belgacom CEO indicted on corruption charges

by Reuters
Thursday, 28 July 2011 18:47 GMT

    * CEO may have influenced building sale - prosecutor

   * Belgacom says no impact on company

   * Belgacom due to report Q2 results on Friday

(Adds details, prosecutor's comments)

   BRUSSELS, July 28 (Reuters) - The head of Belgium's largest telecoms operator, Belgacom <BCOM.BR>, has been indicted on corruption charges related to the sale of a building below the market value and possible kickbacks, prosecutors said on Thursday.

   Belgacom, the former state telecoms monopoly, confirmed that Chief Executive Didier Bellens was indicted in June on charges of "passive private corruption.

   The company said its interests were protected and that it was willing to cooperate with authorities if required to do so.

   "Mr Bellens, in his capacity as chief executive of Belgacom, may have influenced the sale of a building in Mons, a building belonging to a 100 percent subsidiary of Belgacom," the prosecutor of Mons, Christian Henry, told Belgian radio.

   "This sale may have been at a price greatly inferior to the market value. It seems as if Mr Bellens and other parties received certain advantages," Henry said.

   Belgacom said Bellens had told the board of the matter, which relates to the sale of a building in 2005 by a Belgacom subsidiary to SPRL Xelis Siva. The deal was later investigated by the authorities.

   Inge Vervotte, the minister for civil service and public enterprises, said in a statement on Belgian television that she had asked the president of the board of Belgacom to keep damage to the company to a minimum.

   Belgacom said its chief financial officer, Ray Stewart, would represent the company in all matters relating to the investigation.

   Belgacom is due to publish its second-quarter results and hold a news conference on Friday. Eight analysts polled by Reuters forecast, on average, that core profit fell 5.8 percent from a year earlier to 474 million euros.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, Robert-Jan Bartunek, Philip Blenkinsop; editing by John Wallace)

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