The launch of the investigation was inevitable. A little more than seven months after the enormous raid carried out in Portugal by local authorities suspecting large-scale corruption practices within the Altice telecoms empire at the initiative of the former number 2 and co-founder of the group, Armando Pereira, the French authorities are in turn looking into the matter. A judicial source indicates to Le Figaro that the national financial prosecutor’s office opened an investigation in September 2023 around the Altice group, confirming information from Bloomberg. This is “a preliminary investigation into the charges of corruption of persons not exercising public office, money laundering and concealment of these crimes”, the prosecution having also “seized an investigation service”.

“This opening of an investigation follows in particular the revelations that occurred in the summer of 2023 reporting the arrest on July 13, 2023 of Mr. Armando Pereira by the Portuguese authorities,” continues this same source, adding that the preliminary investigation “ is in progress”. The investigation by the Portuguese authorities suspects around ten employees and members of the Altice staff of having enriched themselves through a system of commissions made on fraudulent transactions.

A large-scale fraud of which the Portuguese State and Altice Portugal would have been the main victims for damages exceeding one hundred million euros. Incarcerated in the middle of the summer but released after paying bail, Armando Pereira denies any involvement. “Armando Pereira only wants one thing: for the investigation to move forward quickly and efficiently,” his lawyer, Jean Tamalet, told Bloomberg. He hopes to be heard so that his honor can be cleansed.”

On the other side of the Pyrenees, Altice has become a civil party and is available to the Portuguese authorities in the current procedure, without however ever filing a complaint against Armando Pereira. Neither in France nor in Portugal. At the beginning of August, during a rare speech for the quarterly results of his group, the owner of Altice Patrick Drahi indicated that the volume of SFR contracts concerned by the Portuguese investigation represented only 2% of the total volumes. purchasing from Altice France. One way to minimize the weight of this affair on the group’s operations.

Regardless, the opening of this investigation obviously does not come at the right time for Altice. Loaded with a colossal debt of $60 billion, the group promised in September a vast debt reduction operation, including sales. If it was expected, the launch of this investigation could cool the enthusiasm of certain investors, particularly on the hottest issues such as the sale of the Portuguese operator Meo, or in France the sale of certain parts of Altice France.