According to a new media, potential financial irregularities have occurred in the Swiss unit of Orpea

PARIS (Reuters) – France Info radio said on Thursday there was evidence of potential financial irregularities linked to a Swiss unit of Orpea, a day after the French care home operator said it had contacted the legal authorities about possible wrongdoing involving the company.

A spokeswoman for Orpea told Reuters that the France Info report linked to details of a wider criminal investigation into the company’s scandal in France, adding that it was up to the judicial authorities to determine whether any illegal acts had been committed or not.

France Info said it found evidence to suggest that Orpea’s Swiss unit, Kauforg, which consolidated the purchase of food and other supplies for the company’s French retirement homes until 2020, could have charged excessively to providers of services such as “product performance” or “product development”.

Kauforg was also paying high salaries to executives who, at the same time, were also on the French Orpea payroll, according to the France Info report.

France Info quoted the recently appointed chief executive of Orpea, Philippe Charrier, as saying that the company considers it its duty to investigate all accusations against it.

“Several information channels allowed us to detect potentially illicit acts, involving the behavior of certain individuals,” Charrier told France Info.

It is unclear whether his comments were made in reference to the Swiss unity report or the various accusations leveled against the company this year.

A January book alleged there had been serious lapses in care at an Orpea care home, sparking a flurry of negative media reporting and prompting the government to plan legal action against the care group.

Orpea shares have plunged more than 70% this year. They were down about 1.2% in early trading Thursday.

On Wednesday, Investigate Europe published an article on its website that probed Orpea’s financial structure, which the website said involved the use of Luxembourg and could have led to possible financial malfeasance.

The Investigate Europe report, like that of France Info, was also based on facts reported by Orpea to the authorities as part of the ongoing investigation.

“Internal measures were immediately taken to remove people likely to be involved in these frauds and to strengthen the Group’s internal control procedures,” Orpea said on Thursday, without indicating what specific accusation it was.

(Reporting by Tassilo Hummel; Editing by Himani Sarkar)