French grocery store giant is suspected of great tax dodging in Russia

(MENAFN) Russian tax authorities are reportedly considering imposing a substantial fine on the French supermarket chain Auchan, amounting to nearly USD2 million, over suspicions of tax evasion, according to a report by RBK published on Tuesday.

The investigation conducted by the Russian Federal Tax Service (FTS) focused on Auchan's activities during the financial years of 2020–2021. RBK disclosed that Auchan's Russian subsidiary could potentially face a hefty fine of 180.9 million rubles (USD1.96 million) for alleged unpaid taxes, with a significant portion of this sum accounting for tax adjustments amounting to 125.9 million rubles ($1.36 million).

Although the specific reason behind the tax scrutiny has not been officially disclosed, RBK highlighted that Andrey Lugovoy, the first deputy chairman of Russia’s State Duma Committee on Security and Anti-Corruption, had called for an inspection in February 2023. Lugovoy reportedly cited concerns regarding potential undisclosed commercial activities by Auchan in Russia and expressed a desire to investigate allegations of "illegal methods of tax optimization" allegedly employed by the company.

Auchan, owned by the French retail giant Association Familiale Mulliez, has continued its operations in Russia despite facing sanctions and criticism from Western countries. The Mulliez group, which also encompasses home improvement chain Leroy Merlin, sportswear retailer Decathlon, and fashion outlet Kiabi, has maintained its commitment to the Russian market amidst geopolitical challenges.


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