Big names in the French and Moroccan agribusiness accused of insider trading on the Marie Brizard White & Spirits (MBWS) stock, record sanctions of 36 million euros required, an investigation that has lasted for more than four years, evidence ruled inadmissible by the court of cassation, and respondents who cannot be present because of the pandemic … The case, which went to the AMF judge on Friday morning is unprecedented in many ways.
The crimes were allegedly committed in 2015. MBWS (formerly Belvédère), which avoided judicial liquidation, was then in the grip of significant financial difficulties. The group has changed its name and shareholders. At the end of 2014, the Moroccan Diana Holding (the country’s leading agri-food group) took over 13% of the capital. In May 2015, it allied itself with DF Holding, controlled by the Castel family (owner of the wine merchant Nicolas), which had, shortly before, bought a 5% block from the KKR fund. The two shareholders, acting in concert, want to take power at MBWS. But the arrival, in June 2015, of Cofepp (the European financial company for equity investments, parent company of La Martiniquaise and Bardinet spirits) made “this putsch attempt” fail. Cofepp now holds more than 70% of the capital.