Economy & Politics

Freeport bankruptcy would not affect the state

Asked by the deputies about a possible liquidation of the Luxembourg free port, Pierre Gramegna, the Minister of Finance, “sees no reputational risk” for the Grand Duchy.

Asked by the deputies about a possible liquidation of the Luxembourg free port, Pierre Gramegna, the Minister of Finance, “sees no reputational risk” for the Grand Duchy.

(DH) – While Robert Goebbels (76) has stepped down as chairman of the board of directors of The Luxembourg Freeport Management Company, due to strong strategic differences, the future of the Findel free port raises many questions . As a result, Pierre Gramegna, the Minister of Finance, was invited on Wednesday to speak on the subject before the House. “I don’t see a reputational risk around a possible bankruptcy,” he said.

“If there is a bankruptcy, it will be because of the rules,” he added, while indicating that “it is the operators who ensured compliance with the anti-money laundering rules”, which is why he had asked the registration administration to take over from Customs, which was not responsible for the matter.

In addition, the Minister of Finance also indicated that “the Freeport business model is no longer just so interesting”, joining in this sense Robert Goebbels who had called for “a different strategy”, no longer solely focused on the works of art but more on health equipment, for example. An idea that the Swiss millionaire Yves Bouvier and the shareholders of Freeport do not seem to share.


2014 wurde am Flughafen das Hochsicherheitsgebäude für die zollfreie Lagerung hochwertiger Güter von der Schweizer Gesellschaft „Natural Le Coultre“ eröffnet. Seitdem ist es ein Minusgeschäft.

Robert Goebbels, the now ex-chairman of the board of directors of the free port of Findel, comes out of the silence. For the former Minister of Economy, the Luxembourg franchise should bet on other options than the art market.


In Pierre Gramega’s opinion, it is therefore up to the shareholders “to clarify what they want to do with it, to inject capital or to go bankrupt”. But if the State is not a stakeholder in this society, it does not prevent it from however benefiting from a “surface right”. A provision planned in 2012 by the ministers Luc Frieden (CSV) and Jeannot Krecké (LSAP) which stipulates that in the event of bankruptcy the lands which belonged to the State would revert to him.

For the record, the Freeport was designed near the Findel to offer its customers an ultra-secure and “bonded” storage means, with the guarantee that the goods would not be taxed before reaching their final destination. A concept, “opaque” for some national and European parliamentarians who had asked to visit it in 2018 and who had not really shown themselves convinced.

In operation for almost six years, the Luxembourg free port is idling. In 2018, it reported an operating loss of 1.6 million euros, which further inflated its debt. The latter went from 9.4 million euros in 2017 to 12.3 million euros in 2018.


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