In mid-June, the McDonald’s group agreed to a preliminary investigation by the National Financial Prosecutor (PNF) to pay France 1.25 billion euros to avoid criminal charges for tax evasion. A record fine. Behind this injustice is a whistleblower: Gilles Bombard, former employee and secretary of the works council of McDonald’s West Paris. In a video made by explosion and mr globalizationhe talks about this legal epic that exposed the abuses of the junk food giant.
Gilles Bombard worked for fifteen years at McDonald’s de Plaisir in the Yvelines. It is in the context of his duties as a staff representative that the whistleblower discovers anomalies in the accounts of his institution. By digging a little further, he soon finds out that it is actually a large-scale tax fraud. In front of the camera explosionhe explains :
This restaurant is located on a property belonging to a McDonald’s France group company. And this McDonald’s France group is asking this restaurant and everyone else to pay rent. It’s like parents asking their kids to pay rent for their room at an exorbitant price based on their income.
These royalties claimed from restaurants represent between 20 and 25% of their sales. The amounts are then forwarded to Luxembourg, a tax haven where the tax rate is 29 times lower than that of France. As a result, the amount of the group’s tax evasion between 2009 and 2020 is estimated at 700 million euros.
Seven years of research
In 2015, Gilles Bombard, supported by his works council and the CGT, brought this information to the Ministry of Finance in Bercy, which refused to take over the file. Ultimately, it is the Financial Public Prosecution Service that will conduct a lengthy investigation. It will take seven years and lead to the junk food giant’s conviction.
In addition to this fraud, Gilles Bombard, now a lawyer, explains that these maneuvers had a heavy financial impact on the employees of all restaurants in the chain. “If McDonalds had reported its actual profits as earned in restaurants, we could have had a participation bonus of two to three months’ salary per year.” For this reason, he hopes to reconvict McDonalds to do justice to all employees.
Despite the harassment suffered; the whistleblower doesn’t regret it for a second. Rather, he hopes his struggles will encourage other large-group employee representatives to use their position to expose tax evasion in their companies.
Let’s hope his struggle makes little ones…