Searches were carried out on Thursday on the General Electric site in Belfort as part of a preliminary investigation for aggravated money laundering of aggravated tax evasion, the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) told AFP, confirming a source familiar with the matter. The investigation was opened following a report made by the national secretary of the PCF Fabien Roussel, in July 2019, on “suspicions of optimization and tax fraud by General Electric” in Switzerland.
Joined by AFP, the management of General Electric was not able to respond immediately.
The tax practices of the group in question
The searches, revealed by the site Letrois.info, were carried out by the Department of Judicial Financial Investigations (SEJF), in charge of the investigations. “Today, on our TE05 site, the company is the subject of a search conducted by judicial police officers,” reads an email from management sent to employees at the end of the morning. “These officers will visit the offices of the company, which is usual in the context of an investigation”.
In May, the Economic Social Committee (CSE) and the General Electric inter-union in Belfort filed a complaint against X, in particular for laundering tax evasion and breach of trust, denouncing the tax practices of the American conglomerate. This complaint was attached to the investigation.
“An artificial reduction” of the site’s profits pointed out
Since the acquisition of the Belfort turbine plant from Alstom in 2015, the American multinational has sent more than 500 million euros from the GE site in Belfort to Switzerland and the American state of Delaware where taxation is more advantageous, according to the unions and their lawyer, Me Eva Joly.
“We have shown that over the period 2016-2019, there was an artificial reduction (of the profits of the Belfort site) of 555 million euros”, underlined the lawyer, former MEP and former investigating judge. specializing in the fight against corruption.