Post a Comment Print Share on Facebook

A possible large-scale tax fraud within the Mulliez empire in the sights of justice

The organization of companies and holding companies of the Mulliez empire, owner of Auchan, Leroy Merlin and Décathlon, is at the heart of an investigation carried out in Paris on suspicion of tax fraud, in which several heirs of the family have been implicated.

- 7 reads.

A possible large-scale tax fraud within the Mulliez empire in the sights of justice

The organization of companies and holding companies of the Mulliez empire, owner of Auchan, Leroy Merlin and Décathlon, is at the heart of an investigation carried out in Paris on suspicion of tax fraud, in which several heirs of the family have been implicated. under examination. A sort of shareholders' pact governs the Mulliez "galaxy" of companies with a complex and opaque structure: it mixes civil companies owned by the family and holding companies managing the brands.

Only descendants of the original Mulliez couple, Louis and Marguerite, as well as their spouses, commonly known as "added values", are authorized to own stakes. All of them joined – after a three-day seminar – the Mulliez Family Association (AFM), an economic interest group today with several hundred members based in Roubaix and created in 1955.

In 2012, according to a judicial source confirming Libération, a former member of the family, Hervé Dubly, denounced in a first complaint in Lille “very high loans without writing and without interest granted” by structures of the group “to foreign companies (several hundred million) and to individuals via personal or family civil companies (several million).” The complainant sees these as opaque loans with no apparent justification constituting a breach of trust, particularly in that they do not respect equality between the partners.

The investigation, entrusted for many years to Parisian financial judges, is looking into this arrangement which “could also allow a reduction in tax in France (allowing for example to benefit from dividends abroad) and would therefore be likely to receive the qualification of aggravated tax fraud or laundering of aggravated tax fraud,” specifies the judicial source. The investigation gave rise to searches which the press had already reported in 2016 in France, Belgium and Luxembourg, but also to others in the Netherlands in 2019, as confirmed by the same source.

To date, several indictments have been issued: Jérôme and Thierry Mulliez in 2019 as well as a manager of a Dutch company linked to the group in 2020 for breach of trust and laundering of tax fraud and three financial structures in January 2023 for aggravated money laundering and aggravated tax fraud. A member of the Mulliez family was placed under the intermediate status of assisted witness in 2019.

The judicial source noted that, in the absence of a complaint from the administration lifting the “Bercy lock”, it was the classification of money laundering which was retained by the courts. In 2023, the investigating judges closed their investigations for the first time. But since then, the Directorate of National and International Audits (DVNI), the tax sleuths, have transmitted to the investigating magistrate the documents from the tax audit still in progress, according to the judicial source. The provision of these documents in the procedure could postpone the outcome of the procedure and modify the conclusions.

When contacted, several defense lawyers did not wish to speak or did not respond to requests from AFP. One of them, however, assured that all those involved were “perfectly calm” and had filed observations for the purposes of dismissing the case. According to the judicial source, the decision to prosecute “will depend largely on the analysis of the DVNI”, especially “as several tax audits have already given rise to significant tax adjustments (...) without this giving rise to upon complaint from the tax administration.

While according to a source close to the matter, the investigation concerns "the organization of Mulliez companies and holdings" in general "rather than individual abuses", the AFM told AFP that it was "totally calm” regarding a procedure “devoid of any basis”. “We explained the perfect regularity of the operations examined. Their sole objective is the diversification of investments abroad,” added the Family Association. “Financial flows are completely transparent and are part of a logic of economic development. No tax benefit was sought, no tax benefit was realized. None,” insisted the AFM. The association wants to “immediately file a complaint for violation of the secrecy of the investigation, to confuse those who, after 10 years of an uncompromising but particularly serene investigation, suddenly try to exploit this procedure and put pressure on the justice system ".

Avatar
Your Name
Post a Comment
Characters Left:
Your comment has been forwarded to the administrator for approval.×
Warning! Will constitute a criminal offense, illegal, threatening, offensive, insulting and swearing, derogatory, defamatory, vulgar, pornographic, indecent, personality rights, damaging or similar nature in the nature of all kinds of financial content, legal, criminal and administrative responsibility for the content of the sender member / members are belong.