Director must pay for millions shortfall at bankrupt Neckermann stores

Director must pay for millions shortfall at bankrupt Neckermann stores
Director must pay for millions shortfall at bankrupt Neckermann stores

This is confirmed by curator Seerp Gratama, who must settle the bankruptcies in question.

Ambitious

Steenbergen was one of the directors of wholesaler Readen, who made the news in the spring of 2016 with ambitious plans for the Neckermann retail company, not to be confused with the travel organization of the same name.

Neckermann.com started with a wholesaler, a webshop and thirteen physical stores, which were taken over from Kijkshop, among others. The company said it plans to open dozens of stores.

Bankrupt

At the end of that year, however, the wholesaler went bankrupt, followed not much later by the shops. The webshop kept its head above water for another three years, but also went bankrupt in January 2020 after a wave of customer complaints.

Other companies in which Steenbergen and his brother Joop were involved also ran into problems. For example, cable company Nedfiber went bankrupt, a dispute was fought with the former owner of a Belgian estate, and the FIOD raided the webshop in a money laundering investigation.

Million short

Curator Gratama has now been busy for almost six years with the settlement of the bankruptcies of the companies in which the wholesale and physical stores were housed. In doing so, he was seriously hampered by the lack of cooperation from the directors.

In 2019, he therefore decided to hold them liable for the deficits in the bankrupt estates. It can be calculated from the most recent trustee’s reports that they total about 2.8 million euros.

Convictions

Last year, the court postponed the ruling in that case several times, but the most recent bankruptcy report of the affiliated company Neckermann.com Webshop shows that Ronald Steenbergen has indeed been ordered to pay the bankruptcy deficits.

Because his brother Joop worked for the company but was not officially a director, he was not ordered to pay the bankruptcy deficits. He does have to pay almost 63,000 euros because of a ‘claim on third parties transferred prior to the bankruptcy’.

Personal bankruptcy

Incidentally, it is still highly questionable whether the trustee will actually be able to collect the millions. “Just before the sentencing, both gentlemen were declared personally bankrupt,” explains Gratama. “We therefore had to submit our claims to the trustees in those bankruptcies.”

In addition, Gratama is not the only curator who is owed money by the Steenbergens. In September, RTL Z reported that the brothers were sentenced to compensation of more than 800,000 euros in the bankruptcy of cable company Nedfiber.

‘No good news’

Whether Gratama expects to be able to get something for the creditors, he cannot say yet. “In general, a personal bankruptcy in such a case is of course not good news. But we have to wait and see.”

Rowie Florijn, the trustee of Ronald Steenbergen, confirms that the trustees in the bankruptcies of Nedfiber, Readen and Neckermann have submitted their claims to her. “Now we have to see if we can monetize assets. We will do a thorough investigation for that.”

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Director pay millions shortfall bankrupt Neckermann stores

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