Accused of embezzlement of public funds, Orpea ordered to reimburse 55.8 million euros to the State

Accused of embezzling public funds, the private group retirement homes Orpea, for which justice opened a preliminary investigation in April for institutional mistreatment and financial offenses following a report by the government, was ordered to reimburse 55.8 million euros to the State.

The National Solidarity Fund for Autonomy (CNSA) gave Orpea formal notice on July 29, a spokesperson for this organization which manages funds dedicated to dependency told AFP, confirming information from Le Monde.

Orpea assured in a press release published last week that it would reimburse “sums whose allocation was inadequate”.

However, the group mentions “differences of appreciation” on the sums concerned. It intends to contribute “answers” at the CNSA in the “deadline“one month to defend his position.

According to Le Monde, the group says it is ready to reimburse 5.7 million euros, an amount which corresponds to discounts granted by suppliers for the purchase of products intended for the elderly, financed by public grants.

On the other hand, Orpea refuses to reimburse 30.1 million euros claimed for wages, according to the daily. The group used these public funds to pay carers, while the company should have financed their salaries with its own funds.

The debate focuses mainly on carers acting as caregivers, a practice used by the entire sector to compensate for structural staff shortages.“, Orpea said in a statement to AFP. The salaries of caregivers are partly covered by public grants.

The group also refuses to reimburse 19.6 million euros corresponding to the amount of two taxes, paid with public funds, indicates Le Monde.

The situation is unprecedented, the CNSA will do everything to recover the amounts due by relying on its current legal capacities.“, commented to AFP the spokesperson for the organization.

Orpea, present in 23 countries and which manages more than 350 establishments for dependent elderly people in France, has been plunged into turmoil since the publication in January of a book-investigation, “Les Fossoyeurs”, by journalist Victor Castanet, who denounces his practice.

The group, whose title has fallen sharply on the Paris Stock Exchange since the publication of the book, has dismissed its management and has undertaken to review its practices. He appointed a new managing director and renewed his board of directors to convince his shareholders – and the general public – that he had learned the lessons of the affair.

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