Former deputy PM

Schneider consulting firm posts €200,000 profit

Former economy minister and deputy PM Etienne Schneider, pictured in September 2015 Library photo: Jan Hanrion / Maison Moderne

Former economy minister and deputy PM Etienne Schneider, pictured in September 2015 Library photo: Jan Hanrion / Maison Moderne

Former economy minister and deputy PM Etienne Schneider reported profits of more than €200,000 for his consulting company created after he left politics last year.

Schneider (LSAP) in April 2020 established the business. It is listed as a consulting company and named after the Beta Aquarii star in the constellation of Aquarius, the former minister’s zodiac sign.

The company reported a turnover of €877,839 for the months between April and the end of last year, resulting in a net profit of €210,182.

The filings from 30 July, available on the Luxembourg Business Register’s website, state the company spent just over €30,400 on staff costs, with one employee registered as working at Beta Aquarii. first reported the annual results on 13 August.

An entity also called Beta Aquarii was previously registered in September 2011 but scrapped a year later. Schneider does not appear in the filings of this company.

“Our aim is to offer competitive intelligence consulting and allow you to benefit from the expertise of a highly experienced network of specialists,” Schneider’s company says on its website, adding that it provides merger and acquisition support.

“We provide assistance to European and international groups in Luxembourg, as well as offering legal, economic and strategic guidance to those who wish to establish a presence in the Grand Duchy,” it says, further calling itself a “networking and consulting platform with an economic dimension.”

Since his departure from politics in February 2020, Schneider has amassed numerous board positions, including at ArcelorMittal, Russian conglomerate Sistema, Belgian property developer Besix and maritime engineering firm Jan De Nul.

Under a government ethics code, former cabinet members for two years cannot use insider information gained during their time in office in any private sector role. But in the wake of Schneider’s ArcelorMittal posting, a non-governmental ethics body had warned that it is nearly impossible to enforce this rule.

The ethics committee suggested expanding the rules for departing members of the government, saying they should be banned from private sector jobs in their field for two years.

Schneider served as economy, defence and health minister during his time in government. He notably oversaw the launch of Luxembourg’s space resources initiative that has also seen the country’s military branch out into satellite communications.

The Group of States Against Corruption (Greco), an anti-corruption watchdog under the Council of Europe, already in 2018 criticised Luxembourg over its lax rules. There is “room for improvement, particularly regarding rules on gifts, reporting obligations, lobbying and the management of conflicts of interest after ministers' terms of office have expired," it said in a report.