The fallen CEO of the bankrupt fashion group FNG is fighting a fierce battle for control of the tradition club.
KV Mechelen football club is under heavy pressure to push owner and fallen entrepreneur Dieter Penninckx out of the club. The fact that Penninckx – still owner of 71 percent of the shares – was recently voted from the board of directors by the rest of the shareholders, is due to the heavy pressure that important sponsors have put on KV Mechelen (KVM) since last year. They want to leave Penninckx because he has been charged with, among other things, forgery of documents at his bankrupt company FNG Group, the ex-mother above the shoe chain Brantano.
The crucial sponsors Mercedes-Benz, Afas, Artoos Group and especially the main and shirt sponsor Telenet threaten to leave if Penninckx stays on board. KVM and Telenet have been commercial Siamese twins in Mechelen for years. Telenet is not only a sponsor, but also invests in youth activities and has an agreement with the club about the use of the offices in the stadium and the car park. Since the beginning of this season, Telenet has also been a supervisor on the board of KVM.
The crucial sponsors Mercedes-Benz, Afas, Artoos Group and especially the main and shirt sponsor Telenet threaten to leave if Penninckx stays on board.
In a response, Telenet said that ‘Penninckx’s position as chairman and director was no longer desirable’. According to our information, the stocking is not finished. All sponsors, including Telenet, would insist that Penninckx sell its interest. This is leading to a legal battle over the control of the club.
Due to the troubles about Penninckx, the house banker Belfius unilaterally stopped the cooperation with KVM. The club is negotiating with some smaller banks to open accounts. A njet sounded at the major banks, a problem that other clubs also suffer from. Many clubs have had par status with the banks since the judicial investigation into fraud and money laundering. Belfius is one of FNG’s creditors.
An FNG shareholder, the well-known investor Jos Sluys, confirms for the first time to De Tijd that he also gave loans to KVM. He participated in a refinancing at the end of 2020. This includes 7 million euros in debt over ten years and 2 million euros over five years.