FRANCE – Lactalis, one of the world’s largest dairy companies, is currently under investigation for potential tax fraud dating back to 2018.

The investigation is related to allegations of the company engaging in financial practices that artificially reduced its taxable income.

The French National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) has confirmed that searches were conducted by investigators in connection with the case.

The PNF revealed that the investigation, initiated in 2018, has been extended to include cases of aggravated tax fraud.

The charges specifically revolve around suspicions of a reduction in Lactalis Group’s taxable profit. The PNF received a report from the Confédération paysanne in 2019 and, in 2022, received mandatory tax denunciations from the tax authorities, leading to the broadening of the investigation.

The searches included raids on the Paris residence of Lactalis CEO Emmanuel Besnier, as well as the company’s headquarters in Laval, Pays de la Loire, and an office in the capital.

The PNF, accompanied by investigators from the National Fiscal Offenses Repression Brigade (BNRDF), conducted the searches in the presence of magistrates.

The potential amount of duties evaded by Lactalis over the period from 2009 to 2020 is estimated to be several hundred million euros, according to the PNF.

The investigation aims to determine whether fraud has been committed and, if so, to assess the precise amount of duties evaded.

Lactalis, a privately owned company, has responded to the searches, confirming that they were carried out smoothly and in an orderly manner.

The company emphasized that the searches are part of a procedure related to events from several years ago, which have already been examined by the authorities.

As a privately owned entity, Lactalis does not publicly disclose its financial performance figures. However, the company claims to be the world’s largest dairy business, with operations in 51 countries and revenue amounting to €28.3 billion (US$30.4 billion) in 2022.

The PNF investigation was launched in 2018 following revelations in the French press, including reports from Mediacités, Ebdo, Les Jours, and Mediapart.

These reports suggested that Lactalis utilized financial subsidiaries in Belgium and Luxembourg to allegedly divert profits and reduce taxable income in France.

The ongoing investigation highlights the scrutiny faced by major corporations regarding their financial practices, especially concerning tax matters and potential evasion schemes.

 

Subscribe to our food and agriculture industry email newsletters that provide busy executives like you with the latest news insights and trends from Africa and the World. SUBSCRIBE HERE