Wine trade in Bordeaux: strict imprisonment is required against merchants

Wine trade in Bordeaux: strict imprisonment is required against merchants

Five people were tried on Thursday 27 October 2022 at the criminal court in Bordeaux (Gironde) for wine trafficking. (Illustrative photo) (©Illustrative Pixabay)

Close to 4.6 million bottles of wine sold as French wines when in fact they came from Spain and the European Community. This is the scale of the fraud for which five people were tried, Thursday, October 27, 2022before Correctional Court of Bordeaux (Gironde). The facts come from 2014 to 2016.

If the final verdict is not yet known, the prosecutor has nevertheless demanded five years in prison for the two main defendants, Michel Gilin and Jean-Sébastien Laflèche, prosecuted for fraud in an organized gang. Customs officers are requesting fines of almost 3.6 million euros.

The Fédération des Grands Vins de Bordeaux, a civic party, regrets the “absolute record in the region” for a “fraudulent scheme on an almost industrial scale”, reports Le Figaro in its columns.

Fraud based on franking

The story dates back to 2013, a period in which French wine production fell short of usual volumes. Michel Gilin, merchant and sales manager of Celliers vinicoles du Blayais (CVB), would then approach Jean-Sébastien Laflèche, manager of Défivin in Saint-Loubès (Gironde), to import wine from Spain and sell it as French wine.

The fraud would begin through the establishments of Banchereau, a Charente-based operator and regular supplier of businessman Michel Gilin, who would order tens of thousands of hectoliters of wine from Spain and European Community countries. The wine would then be invoiced to Défivin and then the CVB, as wine from France, via fake electronic shipping documents.

The other two defendants are Sylvie Bernard, manager of Trans BBP, whose tankers were used for the transport, and Fabien Figerou, a winemaker and businessman who made his cellars available (DAE).

Proceedings conducted on January 26, 2023

The survey proposes a second circuit, in which part of the wines would continue their migration to then obtain the status of wines with a protected designation of origin (AOP). But the hearing did not make it possible to know more.

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On the side of the plaintiff, the Confédération paysanne, the Inao (National Institute of Origin and Quality), the CIVB (Inter-Professional Council for Bordeaux Wines) or even the Federation of Grand Bordeaux Wines condemn “the discrediting of the merchant profession.

The verdict of the criminal court is expected on January 26, 2023.

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