Orpea case: French government to file legal complaint

The French government is intending to file a legal complaint against Europe’s private elderly care giant Orpea. The state seeks to get back millions of euros in public funds it believes were misused, Bloomberg reports.

“The state is filing a complaint,” Brigitte Bourguignon, the junior minister for elderly policy, said in an interview Saturday on France Inter radio.

It comes after a month and a half-long investigation into Orpea’s management and financial practices. The government has already held two probes into mistreatment at Orpea’s care homes that found “serious dysfunctions,” Bourguignon added.

France will seek to get back money awarded to the company that was not properly used for the care of the elderly. Those funds represent “various millions of euros,” Bourguignon continued.

Nearly two months ago, journalist Victor Castanet revealed the findings of a three-year investigation in a book titled “Les Fossoyeurs” (“The Gravediggers”), claiming severe failings in hygiene care in an Orpea home in Paris.

“There were flaws on the human side and the organizational side” as well as in the company’s finances, said Bourguignon.

The French group responded that the government report “does shed light on certain dysfunctions,” but also “allows us to conclude that there is no organised ‘system’ that would lead to widespread abuse.”

Orpea’s chief executive officer Yves Le Masne’s was terminated of his duties on 1 February, with non-executive chairman Philippe Charrier taking over his role. In an interview with Le Figaro published on 26 March, Charrier said Orpea hadn’t yet received a request to return the funds to the state that Bourguignon said had been misused.

Orpea has lost more than 60% of its stock market value since the start of the year.

Date published: March 28, 2022

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