The Russian subsidiary of the Auchan group has been targeted since 2020 by a judicial investigation opened by the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office, in particular for corruption of a foreign public official, a judicial source said on Saturday, confirming information from Challenges.
This judicial investigation was opened on March 10, 2020 for bribery of a foreign public official, bribery by an individual, complicity and concealment of these offenses, confirmed this source without further details.
Case “exclusively Russian”, says the group
According Challenges, searches were carried out in 2020 and the Anti-Corruption Office (Oclciff), in charge of the investigations, has heard employees and former executives of Auchan Russia since the beginning of the year. This information was confirmed to AFP by a source familiar with the matter.
Among those heard as witnesses are the general secretary of the group, the director of international security and the former security director of the Russian subsidiary, reports the economic weekly.
“The investigation aims to clarify the facts within the Russian subsidiary of Auchan but it is not directed against Auchan” which “is a victim in this case and reserves the possibility of becoming a civil party”, indicated the group at AFP. It is a “case of fraud and overcharging of the products that Auchan Russia buys in Russia and therefore an exclusively Russian case”, it was added.
Five networks of corruption?
According to Challengesthe investigations were launched after an article in the daily The echoes on a system of corruption in the Russian subsidiary of the group owned by the Mulliez family. “Purchasing managers organize this corruption via rigged calls for tenders, artificial price increases, favors for the promotion of products and other irregularities in the quality department and financial control, in particular on “compliance”” , reported in this article Alexei Jarkov, presented as a lawyer who worked for the subsidiary.
He claimed to have identified five corruption networks that would have siphoned off each year “between 80 and 100 million euros, or 2 to 3% of the turnover made in Russia”. “His media interventions and the figures he evokes have not been supported, from the start, on any evidence or truthful document”, protested the group, stressing that Jarkov had been trying “to interest the press in his story” since the non- renewal of his contract in 2019.
“Auchan did not wait for the investigation by the French courts, nor for the unsubstantiated assertions of a former employee to identify this problem and manage it as best as possible for years in a difficult context”, we were assured. .
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