McKinsey “will pay all they owe in tax to the French public treasury”, reaffirmed Thursday the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire, the day after the opening of an investigation by the national financial prosecutor’s office into the tax practices of the American consulting firm.
The tax administration “does its job”
The minister did not wish to comment directly on the opening of this investigation, estimating only on Franceinfo that “it is the role of justice to seize the cases which it considers that it must seize”. He also recalled that the administration had “undertaken a tax audit of the McKinsey firm last November”. “Let’s not say that the tax administration is not doing its job,” continued Mr. Le Maire.
Asked Thursday about the progress of this “verification”, on the sidelines of a press conference, the director general of public finances Jérôme Fournel refrained from giving further details, citing “tax secrecy”.
The national financial prosecutor indicated on Wednesday that after having taken note of the report of the Senate commission of inquiry into the influence of private consulting firms on public policies, his prosecution had opened a preliminary investigation for aggravated laundering of tax fraud. .
The investigations were entrusted to the Service of judicial investigations of finances (SEJF), specified the prosecutor in this press release without mentioning the name of McKinsey.
In a report submitted in mid-March, the Senate commission of inquiry assured that the contracts concluded by the State and its operators with consulting firms like McKinsey had “more than doubled” between 2018 and 2021, reaching a record amount of more than one billion euros in 2021.
“Bad faith of the opposition”
She also accused several French entities of the McKinsey firm of “tax optimization”, which would have allowed them to pay no corporate tax between 2011 and 2020. “McKinsey reaffirms that the firm respects the French tax and social rules which are applicable”, reacted the firm on Wednesday, after the announcement of the opening of a judicial inquiry.
A few days before the first round of the presidential election, the oppositions denounced majority favoritism in favor of this consulting firm, and called for the opening of an investigation.
Bruno Le Maire defended the use of consulting firms, denouncing the “bad faith” of the opposition and political leaders who denounce the current majority, when they too “used these same consulting firms” in their local responsibilities.