French fashion powerhouse Chanel is facing charges of “systematic smuggling” for its operations in Turkey, Hurriyet’s Dinçer Gökçe reports, standing accused of importing goods without customs declarations.
The fashion giant, with over 200 stores across the world and around one billion euros of turnover, is accused of evading customs tax via smuggling in suitcases, according to the summary of proceedings sent by the Customs Directorate to the chief public prosecutor’s office in Istanbul’s Bakırköy district.
The document, seen by daily Hürriyet, revealed that three Chanel employees, including the head of its Turkey operations, face between two to 10 years in prison for knowingly participating in the scheme.
Chanel’s official response to the allegations:
"While Chanel confirms that an investigation by Turkish customs is under way, the brand is very surprised to find a number of accusations in the media, which we refute.
The only thing we can confirm is that, following an internal audit in 2012, we identified major irregularities and failings in the local management of our two boutiques in Turkey. Those irregularities led us to terminate the employment of the manager of our boutiques at the time for non-compliance with our internal policy and business rules. This situation is absolutely exceptional, and since then we have further tightened our controls to ensure there can be no repetition.
Chanel is closely cooperating with the Turkish authorities, and providing all the information and documents requested by the customs authorities.
To date, we have at no time received any official notice claiming that we have committed acts alleged to be contrary to Turkish law.
Chanel takes the utmost care to comply with the regulations in the countries where we are present, and we remain ready to assist the authorities and the legal system in bringing the facts of this case to light and taking all necessary action.
At this stage, we cannot comment further.
We are relying on the Turkish authorities and legal system to bring the facts of this case to light and allow us to put our case and take all necessary action."
Date created : 2014-03-10