Despite the investigation dating to the back end of 2008 this brilliant story broke only today. The allegations are that Michelin, Total and Adidas have not simply been (illegally) evading Le Fisc but - according to the French Ministry of Finance - have been so naughty that an indictment on the far more serious criminal charges of money laundering are likely. At stake is the better part of a billion euros.
At the center of the allegations is the use of Liechtenstein based entities structured by LGT Group. The same LGT Group who out of the blue decided to abandon the tax-shelter business earlier this month. Some coincidence.
Choice quote from the three accused comes from the Total spokesperson:
"We have no business in Liechtenstein, other than two service stations." (link)
Michelin, Total, Adidas 'targeted in fraud probe'
Bercy à l’origine de l’enquête judiciaire
Michelin, Elf et Adidas dans le collimateur de la justice