Europe 1 with AFP 15:56 p.m., November 07, 2023

Investigators from the National Financial Prosecutor's Office (PNF) are conducting a search Tuesday at the Paris headquarters of the operator SFR, related to a tax dispute on VAT during the years 2013-2019, Arthur Dreyfuss, CEO of Altice France, told AFP, confirming information from Le Figaro.

"We confirm that a search is underway. This search is linked to a dispute with the tax authorities over the VAT rates applied to our TV offers between 2013 and 2019. It is taking place serenely in a spirit of cooperation," said the head of Altice France, SFR's parent company. "Searches are underway at the headquarters of the SFR company," a judicial source also confirmed.

A tax adjustment of €420 million

They are part of an investigation opened on January 19, 2022 for aggravated tax fraud and laundering of these facts and entrusted to the Finance Judicial Investigation Service, following a complaint from an SFR service provider and several denunciations by the tax authorities targeting the companies SFR Fibre and SFR.

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This investigation concerns suspicions of VAT reduction on two products marketed by these companies: triple play offers (telephone, internet, television) and press services. The suspected fraud, covering the 2015 and 2016 financial years, is estimated by the tax authorities at nearly 200 million euros in evaded duties, the judicial source said.

In the spring of 2022, Capital magazine revealed that the tax authorities had notified SFR of a tax adjustment of €420 million, for having reduced VAT on its TV offers from 2016 to 2018 and thus reduced its payments to the tax authorities. The group had already suffered a €2019 million turnaround in 245, notably on the same practice, according to Capital.