Agnès Pannier-Runacher struggling with a possible conflict of interest

November 8, 2022 at 3:03 p.m.

Reading time: 3 minutes


It is an embarrassing affair for the Minister of Ecological Transition, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, with an explosive cocktail mixing a potential conflict of interest, tax havens and a calculation to avoid inheritance tax.

According an investigation by the investigative media Disclosethe minister’s children, who are minors, are shareholders in a company created by their grandfather, Jean-Michel Runacher, whose funds, partly domiciled in tax havens, are said to be linked to the Perenco oil company.

1.2 million euros in tax havens

The father of Agnès Pannier-Runacher is himself the former leader of this multinational fossil fuel, number 2 oil in France. In 2016, the ex-boss created a company called Arjunem to pass on part of his fortune to his grandchildren, then aged 13, 10 and 5, while avoiding paying inheritance tax. He brings in the structure about 1.2 million euros. To allow her children to enter the capital, the minister signed as legal representative.

According to Disclose, this sum of 1.2 million euros would come from speculative funds partly domiciled in tax havens, based in Delaware (United States), Ireland and Guernsey, and in which Perenco would also hold investments. Financial products are deposited in a bank in Luxembourg.

Conflict of interest

The Minister does not mention the Arjunem company in her declarations to the High Authority for the transparency of public life (HATVP). The law obliges him to declare his direct participations and those of his spouse, but not those of his children.

But for the Anticor association, the conflict of interest situation « however, there is no doubt ». Same observation on the side of the HATVPwhich details: « The absence of a reporting obligation does not exempt the public official from taking care to prevent and put an end to situations of conflict of interest that would arise from other indirect interests held, such as the activity of children or other members of the family. »

Agnès Pannier-Runacher swept aside the accusations of Disclose and responded to requests from the press, claiming that it was not about his heritage, « but of that of [ses] children who, themselves, have no power to manage the company to date ». She also referred reporters to her father « for more details ».

Within the opposition, many are those to ask for his resignation. « Minister for Energy Transition or oil interests, you have to choose ! » thus wrote on Twitter MP Danielle Simonnet (LFI). An investigation will be opened by the High Authority for the transparency of public life.

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