At 9:00 a.m., a dozen gendarmes from the Versailles Research Section and the Central Office for the Fight against Damage to the Environment and Public Health (OCLAESP) entered the company's headquarters in Puteaux ( Hauts-de-Seine), noted an AFP journalist.

The management of Orpea confirmed to AFP that a search was "in progress" at the headquarters and in its regional offices.

About 200 gendarmes were mobilized for these operations, according to a source familiar with the matter.

After the revelation of the searches, Orpea shares fell by nearly 5% on the Paris Stock Exchange.

According to another source close to the investigation, these searches aim to "carry out checks" in the investigation opened in April by the Nanterre prosecutor's office, after a report from the government following the publication of the book "Les Fossoyeurs" by Victor Castanet.

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

These dysfunctions were partly confirmed in a report commissioned in the wake of the government, which demanded the restitution of public grants allegedly diverted from their purposes.

Requested, the parquet floor of Nanterre did not wish to communicate immediately.

Complaints against Korian

In addition to the investigation opened in April, Orpea has also been the subject of an investigation since February for "forgery and use of forgery and breach of labor legislation by abusively resorting to fixed-term contracts".

The proceedings have since been joined.

The investigators are also digging into numerous complaints: a good part of the salvo of the 80 complaints filed in April by Me Sarah Saldmann on behalf of residents' families, as well as other complaints, from other lawyers, and received even before the publication from the book "The Gravediggers".

The book-investigation "Les Fossoyeurs" by Victor Castanet, February 1, 2022 in Paris Bertrand GUAY AFP / Archives

In addition, the former general manager of the group for more than ten years, Yves Le Masne, sacked at the end of January, was heard in free hearing Tuesday as part of an investigation opened by the national financial prosecutor's office (PNF) for " insider trading" concerning his resale of shares, shortly before the publication of Victor Castanet's book.

Faced with numerous criticisms and inquiries, Orpea launched a "States General" in May to collect the grievances of its residents: around fifty establishments are thus organizing meetings within them, and a digital platform has been set up to receive suggestions.

Orpea has promised a report on these debates in the fall.

The scandal also affects a direct competitor of Orpea, Korian.

Thirty complaints targeting Ehpad Korian, in particular for "manslaughter", have been filed with a dozen prosecutors in several regions, lawyer Sarah Saldmann said on Tuesday.

These complaints against X come from 18 families of residents, for acts of "endangering the lives of others", "non-assistance to a person in danger" and "manslaughter".

The Korian group indicated in a press release that it "knows nothing of the content of these complaints and therefore cannot make any comment" and recalls that "all serious situations brought to (its) knowledge are dealt with and systematically declared to the authorities".

Wednesday morning, Korian lost more than 9% on the Paris Stock Exchange.

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© 2022 AFP

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