Orpea-New press information on possible financial irregularities

PARIS, May 19 (Reuters) – Orpea was once again implicated in the press on Thursday with the publication by Radio France of information on the commercial practices and remuneration of the group’s Swiss purchasing centre.

A spokeswoman for the giant operating nursing homes and healthcare facilities told Reuters the information from Radio France was linked to a broader ongoing investigation into the management of the business, adding that it It was up to the judiciary to determine whether or not crimes had been committed.

Radio France, for its part, evokes the “surprising” practices of the company Kauforg, a sub-subsidiary of Orpea responsible for negotiating favorable prices from Switzerland with suppliers of food products, citing billings for services whose reality is not not established, up to hundreds of thousands of euros.

The public radio also calls into question the remuneration of several Orpea employees who were simultaneously under part-time contract with Kaufor.

Questioned by Radio France on this information, the CEO of Orpea, Philippe Charrier, appointed in January after the dismissal of his predecessor, declared that the group had to “shed light on the accusations” brought against him.

“In this context, several information channels have enabled us to detect potentially criminal facts, which call into question individual behavior,” he added.

The number one French nursing home has been in turmoil since the publication in January of a book-investigation, “Les Fossoyeurs”, denouncing the treatment of residents of its establishments: the government has launched a double investigation, administrative and financial, before go to court and seek reimbursement of public grants.

Orpea’s market value has plunged more than 70% since then and on Thursday, the group’s share lost more than 5% at the start of the session.

On Wednesday, the consortium of Investigative Europe journalists published an article on the financial structure of the group, questioning the use of a parallel structure based in Luxembourg which allegedly carried out questionable financial operations and accumulated 92 million euros in assets in four European countries, including France.

This investigation, like that of France Info, is based on facts that Orpea says it has itself reported to the courts as part of the ongoing investigation.

“Internal measures were immediately taken to remove people likely to be involved in these frauds and to strengthen the group’s internal control,” he said in a statement on Thursday, without specifying which facts in particular. it refers. (Tassilo Hummel report, French version Marc Angrand, edited by Jean-Michel Bélot)

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