Suspicions of tax optimization: ongoing search at the French headquarters of the American firm McKinsey

The firm claims to have provided “all the required information” to the investigators during this search.

New step in the McKinsey affair. In a reaction sent to the Figaro Tuesday afternoon, the American consulting firm confirmed the holding this day “visit operations carried out by the national financial prosecutor’s office at the headquarters of McKinsey France in Parison the Champs-Élysées.

The operation had been revealed by AFP a few hours earlier: requested, the national financial prosecutor’s office had confirmed to our colleagues that they had carried out a search at the French headquarters of the firm. AFP journalists had noted, Tuesday in the middle of the day, the presence of police officers with customs armbands at the reception of McKinsey’s headquarters.

For its part, the firm claims to have provided “all the required informationto the investigators during this search. The firm adds to collaborate “fully with the public authorities“, in the context of the investigation, and reaffirm respect “the French tax and social rules applicable to it“.

Suspicions of tax optimization

The authorities’ operation takes place within the framework of the preliminary investigation opened by the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office since March 31, for aggravated money laundering of tax fraud. Triggered after the publication of an explosive report by the Senate on the State’s use of consulting firms, the latter was entrusted to the judicial finance investigation service (SEJF). “This investigation is indeed and only aimed at McKinsey on the question of its tax status in France“, then specified the PNF to the Figaro.

In its report, the Senate commission of inquiry accused the French entities of the McKinsey firm of tax optimization, such that they would not have paid any corporate tax between 2011 and 2020. “The McKinsey firm is subject to corporation tax (IS) in France but its payments have been zero euros for at least 10 yearsthe report concluded.

The PNF also noted that the penalties incurred, if the facts are proven, are ten years in prison and a fine of 750,000 euros, “which can be increased up to half of the value of the goods or funds on which the money laundering operations were carried out“. For its part, the American cabinet denied the facts of which it was accused, affirming that it would stand “at the disposal of the competent administrations and authorities“. “Between 2011 and 2020, McKinsey paid more than 422 million euros in taxes and social charges, or nearly 20% of its cumulative turnover over the same period. All McKinsey entities in France are subject to corporation tax. Thus, over the same period, its implementation subsidiary paid corporation tax for 6 years“, he also specified, without clearly distinguishing the amount paid in taxes from that paid in social charges.

A procedure initiated by the Senate

At the same time, the Senate office also recently announced that it had seized “the floor […] for suspicion of perjuryon McKinsey’s tax situation in France. The elected officials accuse an associate director of the cabinet, Karim Tadjeddine, of having lied under oath during a hearing. In mid-January, he thus assured: “We pay corporate tax in France and all salaries are in a company governed by French law which pays its taxes in France“. Claims contradicted by the report. However, the Senate procedure will depend on that launched by the PNF, since it will first be necessary to determine whether McKinsey has paid the tax due.

Over the weeks, this file, as well as the broader subject of the use of consulting firms, has taken center stage in the political debate. The oppositions brandished these themes throughout the presidential campaign, and Emmanuel Macron felt that it was “a very good thing” that there is an investigation “when we say that a company would have defrauded”. On the merits, a transpartisan bill must be tabled in the Senate “end of June“and examined”next fall“, according to Senate sources. It should make it possible to better regulate the use of these structures.

SEE ALSO – McKinsey case: “We must not only be indignant about it, we must act as Europeans“says Emmanuel Macron

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