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PUTEAUX: Orpea’s headquarters and the group’s regional management were raided on Wednesday as part of an investigation into suspicions of institutional abuse and financial offenses at dependent elderly institutions.

At 9 a.m., a dozen gendarmes from the Versailles Research Department and the Central Office for Combating Damage to the Environment and Public Health (OCLAESP) entered the company’s headquarters in Puteaux (Hauts-de-Seine), an AFP noted. reporter on .

Orpea’s management confirmed to AFP these searches at its headquarters and in its regional offices. About 200 gendarmes were mobilized for these 15 operations, the Nanterre prosecutor’s office said, at the request of AFP, including investigators from the gendarmerie command in cyberspace.

On Wednesday, the Orpea share fell 3.13% on the Paris stock exchange.

According to another source close to the investigation, these searches are intended to “perform checks” on the investigation opened in April by the Nanterre prosecutor’s office, following a government report following the book’s publication. “Les Fossoyeurs” by Victor Castanet.

In this book, published in January, the independent journalist criticized in particular the mistreatment of residents and the misuse of public funds.

These dysfunctions were partially confirmed in a government-commissioned report demanding the return of government grants allegedly diverted from their purpose.

“Justice is finally taking action on this public health scandal,” welcomed the announcement of the searches, lawyer Fabien Arakelian, who represents several families who have filed complaints in Nanterre and elsewhere in the country.

“We tried to point the finger at dysfunctions, institutional abuse and today I hope with all my heart that this search will at least bring the truth about all that has been lies for years,” the CGT Orpea union told AFP. representative at the end of a meeting with management on Wednesday.

The Orpea group, for its part, made public on Wednesday the final conclusions of an external audit confirming “unlawful conduct” and “dysfunctions”, especially in the use of public funds.

In particular, the firms Grant Thornton and Alvarez & Marsal, authorized by the group in February, “confirmed” a “practice of year-end discounts (RFA) at certain major suppliers of products financed by government grants not disclosed to authorities, as planned,” Orpea said.

Complaints against Korian

In addition to the investigation opened in April, Orpea has also been the subject of an investigation since February for “counterfeiting and use of forgery and violation of labor law by abusing fixed-term contracts”. The proceedings have now been joined.

Investigators are also digging into numerous complaints filed by relatives of residents, some of which were received even before the publication of the book “Les Fossoyeurs.”

“As part of these various investigations (…) the investigations began with several hearings that had already been conducted” and “triggered” the house searches on Wednesday, the Nanterre prosecutor told AFP.

In addition, Yves Le Masne, who was fired at the end of January, the group’s former general manager, who had been fired for more than a decade, was questioned on Tuesday during a free hearing as part of another investigation opened by the national financial prosecutor’s office. (PNF ) for “insider trading” regarding his resale of shares shortly before the publication of Victor Castanet’s book.

Finally, a new investigation was opened in mid-May, specifically for misuse of company assets, separate from the investigation that led to the searches, following a complaint filed against X by Orpea, AFP learned on Wednesday.

The complaint focuses on “past facts and operations (…) that may raise questions about Orpea’s social importance and have been uncovered following internal investigations,” Ehpad’s private group said.

Faced with numerous criticisms and investigations, Orpea launched a “State General” in May to gather the grievances of its residents and promised a report on these debates in the fall.

The scandal also affects Orpea’s direct competitor, Korian. 30 complaints against Ehpad Korian, in particular for “manslaughter,” have been filed in several regions, attorney Sarah Saldmann said Tuesday.

These complaints against X come from 18 families of residents, for acts of “endangering the lives of others”, “failing to assist a person in danger” and “manslaughter”.

The Korian group stated in a press release that it “does not know anything about the content of these complaints and therefore cannot comment” and recalls that “all serious situations brought to its attention are being dealt with and systematically reported to the authorities.” reported”.

On Wednesday, the Korian title lost 9.51% on the Paris stock exchange.

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