The Ladurée house and the Paul bakeries… everyone knows them, but who can put a face to the owners of these brands? By surfing on the concepts of “traditional bakery” and “high-end pastry”, they have opened 900 shops in nearly 50 countries.
At the head of this multinational, a very discreet family: the Holders. This discretion also applies to unpublished group accounts and personal assets. In Luxembourg, parents and children would have invested tens of millions of euros. The traces of these operations are visible in documents obtained by the journalists of “Complément d’Enquête”: balance sheets, notarial deeds, the last of which date back to 2019. All come from the Luxembourg trade register. They are among those on which the operation was based OpenLux, as well as Mediapart for an investigation.
The journalists of “Complément d’Enquête” entrusted them to a former tax inspector, who spent several days analyzing these hundreds of pages. According to these documents, each member of the family owns a company domiciled in Luxembourg. Holder International for the parents, Francis and Françoise; MH5 for Maxime Holder; H’Corp for David; Epajona for Elisabeth, their younger sister.
For each of the three child-owned companies, “we are not very far from the 20 million subscribed capital“, she notes. That is to say about sixty million euros in all, invested by the parent company… Through a clever system of buyback of shares between companies, the Holder parents could thus have transmitted, over the past ten years, a part of their fortune to their children.
Why was this transfer of assets made in Luxembourg?
For the former controller, who points out that “there is a fine line between optimization and tax evasion“, these documents “ask a lot of questions“. Is this a deliberate desire to evade tax in France? Why was this transfer of assets made in Luxembourg?
The journalists, on the other hand, had two other questions to ask the Holders: does this financial arrangement, still active in 2019, still exist? Is he known to the French tax authorities? But they refused to answer… We will therefore have to be satisfied with these statements by Françoise Holder dating from 2017: “I confirm that I have always paid my taxes in France and have not personally given in to the champions of exile tax”. “A certain number of [ces] companies (…) are the personal companies of my three children, who all reside abroad”; “Most of the key companies in the group (…) have been subject to tax audits in the last two years by the French authorities,” she said.
Excerpt from “Paul and Ladurée: billionaire bakers”, a document rebroadcast in “Complément d’Enquête” on June 9, 2022.
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