According to the OpenLux investigation, the Kering Group is accused of using Luxembourg-based financial subsidiaries to pay offshore compensation to its executives.
According to the OpenLux survey, carried out by several European media, including the French media Le Monde, and analyzing the tax system in the financial center of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the luxury goods giant Kering would be accused of having paid offshore remuneration to its managers.
The owner of Gucci, Balenciaga, and Yves Saint Laurent would have used an “offshore remuneration system” in order to “pay tens of millions of euros in salaries to its managers, through a Luxembourg company called Castera“, according to the survey.
While the group’s shares on the Paris stock exchange are already declining, the Kering group assured AFP that the “presence of subsidiaries in Luxembourg is normal“, especially for a large group like Kering “present in more than 60 countries“. The group added that “the activity of these companies, whose number is very limited and whose existence is linked to historical reasons, is perfectly legitimate and legal“.
Already, in 2018, the Médiapart site reported that Kering had paid “part of the salaries of Gucci boss Marco Bizzarri” from this Luxembourg company founded in 2000, which enabled it to save “a large part of the social security contributions he would have paid in Italy“, according to the French news site.
The article also reports that Kering “has acknowledged to Le Monde that several other managers of the group’s prestigious companies have been salaried and paid by this Luxembourg company, in which they have never set foot“.
The Castera company is accused of having “paid 78 million euros in salaries to these mysterious beneficiaries in 2018”, thus paying “less than 1% in social security contributions”, while it should have paid “at least 10% if they had been paid from France”.
Le Monde also reports that the “offshore remuneration system” used by Kering in Luxembourg would have been abandoned in March 2019, in favor of the Netherlands, where the group would have transferred most of its assets to “another tax haven a little more opaque, where it is not obliged to publish its accounts“.
Already sentenced in 2019 to pay a fine of 1.25 billion euros to Italy for tax fraud, the Kering group has been under investigation by the French national financial prosecutor’s office since February 2019 for “aggravated tax fraud laundering“.
According to Le Monde, the tax authorities “are claiming 150 million euros in the context of a tax reassessment on its French subsidiary Yves Saint Laurent“, figures that have not been confirmed by the tax authorities under cover of “tax secrecy“.
Photo à la Une : © Kering
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