Hericord was already implicated in an investigation last year into a contract between Luxembourg-based company Avrox and the Belgian government. In December 2021 Belgium’s prosecutor’s office confirmed that in the fraud case. In May 2020, Avrox won a bid to procure 15 million masks for €32m in June 2020. However, after delivering the masks late,
Hericord was released under certain conditions with a €100,000 bail. Suspected to have broken the bail conditions Hericord has been arrested and will appear in court on Monday 29 August. He will be able to demand his liberation during the hearing.
The crux of the issue is that Avrox, like all other candidates for the government contract, was only able to participate in the tender by providing a statement that the company had already supplied at least 250,000 reusable cloth masks to another client. Avrox had, however, used as its reference a Bright Periods Consulting, an offshore company in Mauritius--the credibility of which has been questioned. The Belgian court has levelled against Avrox charges of suspicion of forgery, fraud, money laundering and obstruction of auction regulations
Luxury vehicles belonging to Avrox have been seized in Luxembourg, according to French newspaper le Soir. Laurent Kennes, Hericord’s lawyer stated his client “does not understand the need to detain him preventively when he was still free throughout his hearing with the police.” Kennes estimates that "the measures taken in this case are disproportionate. My client repeats that the Belgian state was not defrauded of €32m, the masks were delivered and payments were made on the basis of these deliveries.”
Bought by the Belgian state for €32m, the Avrox reusable cloth masks were partially distributed to the population via pharmacies. due to a suspicion of presence of silver nanoparticles. In April 2022, Belgian news station RTBF reported that approximately 7 million masks were set to be destroyed.