Lille. Several heirs to the Mulliez empire indicted for tax fraud

Several heirs of the Mulliez family, owners of Auchan, Leroy Merlin and Décathlon, have been indicted in an investigation on suspicion of tax fraud, we learned this Wednesday from a judicial source, confirming information from Release.

This case was opened in 2012 following a complaint by a former family member who felt wronged.

Loans “without writing”

In the first complaint in Lille, he condemns “very high loans without documentation and without interest granted” by group structures “to foreign companies (several hundred million) and individuals through personal or family civil companies (several million)”.

According to the complainant, these opaque loans without apparent justification are a breach of trust, especially because they do not respect equality between partners.

The investigation is looking into this arrangement, which “could also allow tax reductions in France (allowing, for example, to benefit from dividends abroad) and therefore would likely be classified as aggravated tax fraud or money laundering,” according to a judicial source.

Jérôme and Thierry Mulliez have already been charged

In 2019, a judicial investigation led by a Paris financial judge led to searches and charges against Jérôme and Thierry Mulliez for breach of trust and tax fraud.

In January 2023, three financial structures linked to the family were also indicted on money laundering and aggravated tax fraud charges.

In 2023, the investigating judges closed their investigations for the first time.

Survey of companies and holding companies only

However, the Directorate of National and International Audits (DVNI), tax detectives, have since handed over documents from the tax audit, which is still ongoing, to the investigating judge, according to a judicial source.

The provision of these documents in the proceedings could delay the outcome of the proceedings and modify the conclusions.

While the investigation, according to a source close to the matter, is about “the organization of Mulliez’s companies and holdings” in general “rather than individual abuse”, the Mulliez Family Association (AFM), which brings together the family’s heirs, said they were “absolutely calm” about the procedure “without any basis . »

“No tax benefits,” the family says

“We have explained the perfect regularity of the investigated operations. Their only goal is the diversification of investments abroad,” the association assured.

“Financial flows are completely transparent and are part of the logic of economic development. A tax benefit was not sought, a tax benefit was not realized. None,” AFM insisted.

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