Retailer Auchan: Co-operating in French probe into its Russian arm

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The logo of Auchan in Croix

PARIS (Reuters) - French retailer Auchan said on Sunday it was fully co-operating with the French justice authorities in a probe into business practices at its Russian arm.

"Auchan is a victim in the case and reserves the right to join the case as a civil party. The inquiry aims to clarify certain facts within the Russian subsidiary of Auchan but is not directed against Auchan itself," said the company.

"Auchan has been fully co-operating for three years with the demands of the French justice department in this affair which, it must be recalled, revolves around an allegation of fraud and over-invoicing of products which Auchan Russia buys in Russia, and is therefore an exclusively a Russian matter," it added.

French magazine Challenges and the Financial Times had earlier reported that the French financial prosecutor's department had opened this probe into Auchan's Russian arm. The French financial prosecutor's department did not immediately respond to a request for a comment.

Last month, Auchan denied it was opening a new store in Russia, a market where it has maintained a presence since Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, and said it was instead re-branding an existing store.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Ros Russell)