'Emperor' Producer Paul Breuls Arrested on Fraud Allegations

Paul Breuls

The founder of Belgium production company Corsan is accused of tax violations and money laundering.

Paul Breuls, founder and head of bankrupt Belgium production group Corsan, has been detained by local authorities as part of an ongoing investigation into fraud allegations against his company.

Breuls has been held in detention in Antwerp since June 21. The Public Prosecutor's Office in Antwerp confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter they consider the 66-year-old Monaco resident a flight risk.

Corsan was set up to take advantage of Belgium's tax shelter laws to facilitate the financing of independent films. The company pooled capital from small investors to fund movies. Corsan investors would receive tax certificates to allow them to write off their investments. The company backed projects including The Devil's Double by Lee Tamahori, Liam Neeson-starrer Third Person and Killing Season with John Travolta and Robert De Niro. Corsan also bankrolled Tamahori's adventure epic Emperor, starring Adrien Brody, but the company's financial troubles have kept the project stuck in postproduction for more than two years.

Breuls is accused of fraud, forgery, money laundering and tax offenses through the use of Corsan and its affiliated companies and could face both criminal prosecution and possible civil action.

The company's current legal problems began when company investors did not receive their promised tax certificates for the money they had invested. Tax authorities began their own investigation, which led to Breuls' arrest.

Brussels-based group Law Square, representing some 250 of Corsan's investors, is trying to seize all of Breuls' assets. The film Emperor, by far the company's most valuable asset, is currently in legal limbo with Breuls still claiming rights to the film as its original producer. Emperor is still not finished and there have been reports that Brody and Tamahori, as well as several other members of the cast and crew, have not been paid in full for their work on the film.

Breuls and his legal representation could not be reached for comment.