The Casino group targeted by a preliminary investigation in particular for “price manipulation” on the Stock Exchange
This is an investigation started more than 3 years ago. The Casino food distribution group has been targeted since February 5, 2020 by a preliminary investigation by the heads, in particular, of price manipulation and insider trading which would date back to 2018 and 2019, confirmed to AFP the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF), questioned on information Press.
The exact heads of the preliminary investigation, entrusted to the Financial Brigade, are: “manipulation of prices in an organized gang, active and passive private corruption” and “insider trading committed during 2018 and 2019”, further specifies the prosecution, according to which the investigation, which follows a report from the Financial Markets Authority (AMF), relates to the stock market price of the company “during this period”. Questioned by AFP on Thursday, the Casino group, which publishes its annual results on Friday, declined to comment on the information.
Investigations at the group’s headquarters and at the CEO’s home in 2022
In mid-2022, several media had reported that AMF investigators had visited the group’s headquarters as well as the home of its CEO Jean-Charles Naouri in May. Jean-Charles Naouri, controlling shareholder of the group and sole executive corporate officer of the company, has been CEO since 2005 of Casino of which he has been the leading shareholder since 1992.
The PNF was questioned by AFP about the filing in February of complaints from two minority shareholders of the group, accusing its management of financial and stock market manipulation. These complaints, initially revealed by Le Point and consulted in early March by AFP, were filed by the founder and former president of the consulting firm Proxinvest Pierre-Henri Leroy, and by the small historical shareholder and descendant of the founder of Casino Xavier Kemlin.
Casino reserves the right to lodge a complaint
According to their lawyer, Thomas Amico, they “have been asking questions for a long time about the legality of certain practices” within the group, “particularly in connection with the safeguard procedure”. The parent company of Casino, Rallye – owned by Mr. Naouri – brings together a cascade of holdings (Foncière Euris, Finatis and Euris), heavily indebted. Rallye benefited in May 2019 from the opening of a safeguard procedure, which would constitute, for Xavier Kemlin, a possible fraud in judgment.
On this point, a spokesperson for the Casino group replied to AFP on Thursday that “the allegations of Messrs. Kemlin and Leroy are perfectly inaccurate and slanderous”. “In doing so, we reserve the possibility of filing a complaint, as we already did in 2018 against the same people, in response to the same allegations,” he added.