French retailers Carrefour and Auchan are suspected of large-scale tax evasion in Italy. The supermarket chains are accused of evading nearly two billion euros in taxes by means of false invoices.
In exchange for bikes and trips
The public prosecutor in Milan has opened an investigation into possible tax evasion at Carrefour’s Italian subsidiary GS and Auchan’s subsidiary Margherita Distribuzione (among others), who are suspected of evading taxes to the tune of 1.8 billion euros between 2015 and 2019 by issuing false invoices. The French supermarket chains are also alleged to have evaded 260 million euros of VAT, using a complex network of foreign companies.
Some 33.8 million euros have already been confiscated at GS, while at Auchan the authorities have confiscated 26.2 million euros, Italian news agency Ansa reports. Nine people have been placed under house arrest, including a former director and a former operational director of Carrefour Italia. A previous Auchan buyer is said to have received two electric bicycles, trips abroad, other gifts and tickets to football matches as compensation for the alleged fraud, police said.
Although all the suspects deny wrongdoing, Carrefour Italia has meanwhile launched an internal investigation. The supermarket chain says it is cooperating fully with the Italian judicial authorities and is making all necessary information available. Wholesaler Miti is also under investigation.