Martell under threat of a fine of 500,000 euros -

القائمة الرئيسية


Martell under threat of a fine of 500,000 euros -

VSfive hundred thousand euros fine. This is significant, even given the annual turnover of Martell & Co, which exceeds 600 million euros. These are the requisitions of Élise Bozzolo, the prosecutor, this Wednesday at the correctional hearing. It has serious consequences for the image. “ Misleading business practice “says the prevention. A matter of ” traceability ” on two vintages marketed abroad, in particular in Asia, between 2015 and 2020. And 500,000 euros, it is approximately the profit made by the house of cognac. 7,000 bottles out of the 30 million “necks” sold each year by the Martinet brand, 99% for export. The story could have ended in a transaction. Martell refused. This could have meant an admission of guilt when the company’s Parisian lawyers pleaded for release at the hearing.

At the heart of the debates, two “vintage” house productions. It’s not a blend, it’s quite rare in cognac. It is a single eau-de-vie, produced and distilled in the process. ” A niche market “, according to Patricia Gaborieau the head of legal affairs, at the helm to represent the Martell house. A 1978 petite champagne cognac and a 1989 grande champagne, produced by two winegrowers “ historical and trusted partners of Martell “, for customers that the prosecution considered” wealthy “, ready to put 145 euros for the vintage 89, 314 for the year 78. A presentation in English exclusively on the international site of the brand. This is where the Direccte, the directorate for the protection of populations and the repression of fraud, spotted the bottles. Wanted to check the traceability of the products. Producers are forced to by any means “.

Question of interpretation

The administration checked. Considered that the elements produced by Martell were “insufficient”. The result is a voluminous file and questions. Stocks of eau-de-vie that defy the share of the angels by increasing from one year to the next, barrels that we track but not their contents, debates around the hygrometry of the cellars , clashes over carbon 14 and the dating of eaux-de-vie, discussions about the vintage or the age of alcohols. A legal battle too, on the merits of the lawsuits when the product was only intended for foreign countries, a defense which argues that the vintage is not an argument of quality when the Martell ad boasts a product of exception. “Question of interpretation of the texts”, estimated the defense lawyers, François Voiron and Laura Castex. Jean-Philippe Daugas, the fraud prevention inspector, however maintained his doubts and pointed out the “ inconsistencies “, answers from Martell, shared stocks which prohibit tracing them, the absence of data, when the defense is based on the notebooks of the winegrowers distillers.

For simplicity, “ it might be a vintage, you can’t prove it, so you’re in violation “. This could suit the prosecution, which was more interested in trade than in the promotion of the terroir. ” There, we don’t have a closed barrel until it is marketed », as do the small houses that produce vintage cognacs. 500,000 euros and publication in a national newspaper and a specialized magazine, that was the right price. Except for the defense lawyers who, by engaging in a very specific legal field, also denounced ” a prosecution investigation that has the wrong purpose. There is no unfair trade practice, no impact on the consumer “, for mee Francois Voiron.

Judgment September 27.