French supermarket CEO detained in stock manipulation probe

AFP - [email protected]
French supermarket CEO detained in stock manipulation probe
French supermarket and retail group Casino Chairman and CEO Jean-Charles Naouri in 2013. He was taken into custody on June 1st as part of an investigation into price manipulation and insider trading. (Photo by Eric PIERMONT / AFP)

The head of a top French supermarket chain was taken into custody for questioning on Thursday in an inquiry over stock price manipulation, insider trading and corruption suspicions, a source close to the case said.


Jean-Charles Naouri, already under pressure to reduce debt at retailer Casino, was being held in Paris by judges probing links between the CEO and a populist financial journalist who has made several attempts at the French presidency.

The alleged acts date to 2018 and 2019, the source told AFP, with judges investigating since 2020. Lawyers for Naouri did not respond to requests for comment.

Investigators searched Casino's headquarters as well as Naouri's home in May 2022.

According to French daily Le Parisien, Casino paid more than €800,000 to several companies controlled by Nicolas Miguet, editor of financial newsletters who has sought the French presidency on a guerilla anti-tax platform.

The French financial markets regulator AMF, which lodged the complaint, suspects that in exchange Miguet made "buy" recommendations on Casino shares in his various publications and statements.


In a recent financial filing, Casino said the legal inquiry was based only on "an encounter with a former consultant to Casino" and denied the allegations.

Naouri's detention comes after a Paris court ordered Friday that Casino, whose debt mountain stood at €6.4 billion at the end of 2022, be placed in conciliatory proceedings with creditors ahead of a potential debt restructuring.


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