François Fornieri, the CEO of Mithra, was placed under arrest warrant on Thursday night by investigating judge Frédéric Frenay. In the aftermath, Mithra appointed an ad interim CEO.
Thunderclap in the file Nethys. According to our information, François Fornieri, the CEO of Mithra, was placed under arrest warrant by the magistrate of Liège Frédéric Frenay. He was charged with the count of embezzlement by a person exercising a public office and abuse of corporate property. The man had been arrested by the police at his home Wednesday morning before being taken for audition. After spending a night in a cell, and after another day of hearing, the Liège businessman was presented to Judge Frenay, who therefore decided to deprive of liberty.
Gathered Thursday evening, Mithra board of directors, in accordance with the company’s governance code, has decided to designate Christophe Maréchal, the current CFO of the company, as CEO in the interim. “The company has taken note of the arrest warrant of François Fornieri in the context of a file relating to functions he previously fulfilled in a foreign company in Mithra,” the company said in a press release issued this Thursday evening.
“François Fornieri’s presumption of innocence must be forcefully recalled.”
Mithra’s board of directors has indicated that it will regularly take stock of the management of the company and the progress of the various projects. The board adds that it will take the necessary decisions in consultation with the CEO ad interim. “With the appointment of Mr. Maréchal, the board of directors is convinced that the continuation of the operational activities of the company will be carried out in an optimal way”, one still reads in the press release of Mithra.
François Fornieri will appear in council chamber next Tuesday, specified Georges-Albert Dal, Marc Dal and Philippe Culot, the businessman’s lawyers. “During the interrogation, François Fornieri provided all the useful and necessary explanations to the investigators based on many documents and notes that were communicated to them,” the lawyers said in a statement sent on Thursday night. They also state that the CEO of Mithra “always claimed to have acted in strict compliance with the law and in the interest of the company of which he was a director.” “Sa presumption of innocence must be recalled forcefully, ”they add.
“Mr. Fornieri does not intend that his freedom be conditioned on the number of tweets or articles devoted to him.”
During his appearance in the council chamber, the businessman will ask for the lifting of his arrest warrant “for which he disputes the motivation,” said François Fornieri’s lawyers. “Mr. Fornieri does not intend that his freedom be conditioned by the number of tweets or articles devoted to him,” his lawyers still write.
From a source close to the case, it appears that Mr. Fornieri was heard in the so-called Nethys top management remuneration case, a file that has made the headlines in the press in recent years, around the central figure of Stéphane Moreau, the former CEO of Nethys.
As a reminder, it was on May 22, 2018 that the Nethys remuneration committee, made up of businessman François Fornieri (chairman), Pierre Meyers and Jacques Tison, validated the principle of severance payments granted to former directors of Nethys in an attempt to keep them at the helm of the ship, while the governance decree was to regulate the remuneration of its directors. Subsequently, we will learn that Nethys paid so-called retention indemnities of 14.47 million euros to Stéphane Moreau (ex-CEO of Nethys), to Pol Heyse (ex-CFO), to Bénédicte Bayer (member of the management committee) and to Diego Aquilina, then CEO of the insurer Integrale. Another meeting of this remuneration committee held this time on May 21, 2019 decided to grant bonuses for a total of 3.91 million euros to Stéphane Moreau, Pol Heyse and Bénédicte Bayer.
Witmeur and Levaux heard as witnesses
Around mid-December 2019, qualifying this system as an “artificial construction” and “illegal maneuvers”, the Walloon minister in charge of public authorities, Pierre-Yves Dermagne (PS), wanted to annul these decisions before realizing that the supervision of the Walloon government did not relate to the incriminated periods. Ultimately, justice therefore had to clear things up in this case.
If the main parties concerned have always declared that everything had been done legally and that the operations had been validated by the bodies of Nethys, an investigation was still opened in the hands of the Liège examining magistrate Frédéric Frenay at the end. of the month of December 2019. It is therefore this aspect of the case that is of interest to investigators today.