American industrial giant General Electric is the target of a criminal complaint in France, which was filed Monday, May 30 by the Belfort Union, where the gas turbine manufacturing plants are located. This complaint against X has been filed with the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) for laundering for “tax fraud”, “breach of trust”, “falsity” and “use of counterfeiting” as well as “aggravated concealment”. “Through experience, we can demonstrate that the mechanisms used by the company are criminal and contrary to the standards and law that govern tax practices.”says Alexis Sesmat, a spokesperson for Sud Industries GE.
The various unions behind the complaint accuse General Electric of putting in place a tax improvement system that curbs tax evasion. According to the investigation they have been conducting since 2018 into the accounts of gas turbine activity, headquartered in Belfort, the American industrial giant – which bought Alstom’s energy subsidiary in 2015 under the leadership of Emmanuel Macron, then Secretary of State.Economie – Organized an evacuation of 800 million euros in Switzerland or in the US state of Delaware, a tax haven. According to them, this money was taken from the profits of the gas turbine activity, between 2015 and 2019, which threatens the site itself and has direct industrial consequences for the Belfort site.
“Since 2015, the Balfour entity has been running a deficit due to the plunder of its resources. This artificial deficit is then used to adjust wages, reduce investments in the productive tool, justify social plans and transfers…with a highly uncertain industrial future.”Philip Petitculin, member of the CFE-CGC / Sud inter-union
With the system that unions accuse General Electric of implementing, the French tax authorities lose several hundred million euros in tax, even if it is difficult to pinpoint the deficit accurately. However, this system operates under an agreement with the tax authorities denouncing the unions. This is a “trust protocol” that allows a company to get a tax plan approved before it can be used to take advantage of less granular controls afterward. This form of “restraint” does not only benefit General Electric.
Unionists in Belfort claim to have alerted the tax authorities and asked GE management to comply, to no avail. GE does not comment on the complaint and merely confirms that it respects the tax rules of the countries in which it operates. As for Percy, the MinistryeThe economics and tax administration notes that large corporations are still closely followed, but tax secrecy is invoked so as not to mention more, neither on the names of the firms that benefit from this protocol, nor on the results of their checks. However, the tax authorities have launched a tax audit on General Electric, but it only covers the period 2017-2019.
NGOs such as Oxfam or ATAC are together with the unions in this legal action. for Eva Jolie, the report prepared by the unions as part of their investigations “It means that the company is preparing to close this site because it can say, ‘You see, it’s not profitable’!” The former investigative judge of the Paris Financial Center and presidential candidate will be the union’s lawyer.
“This is perhaps the most dangerous: the use of accounts in a directed way so that profitability is artificially reduced. If the accounts are not falsified, Belfort is in equilibrium.”Alexis Sismat, spokesperson for Sud Industries, General Electric
According to Alexis Sesmat, the group is even trying to implement An act of extortion by saying:Watch out, you are threatening us, so we may have to restructure as a result of your legal action.”
This complaint is presented as a war against tax evasion, which the NGO ATAK estimates at €80 billion annually. Prosecutors hope it will give ideas to other company unions, both of which are tax evasion “became familiar” According to them. “We want to show that tax evasion is not inevitable so that our union counterparts, in other multinational groups, can engage in a similar approach and challenge these practices.”Alexis Sismat hopes.