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Friday, 13 June 2014

Leading Swiss Wine Producer Arrested!



Dominique Giroud of Valais wine firm Giroud Vins is at the center of both tax and computer hacking scandals.

One of the largest Swiss wine producers and négociants, Dominique Giroud, has been arrested and could face up to five years in jail.

The public prosecutor in Geneva, Switzerland announced Giroud's arrest on Thursday. He is suspected of hacking into the computers of journalists investigating him for other misdemeanors.

Giroud, whose company is based in the Valais, the largest Swiss winegrowing region, is at the heart of a scandal that has been going on for several years. In 2011 the Swiss tax office opened an inquiry against him on suspicion of having falsified financial securities to avoid tax. In November 2013 Giroud was given a tax demand for back payments of 9.54 million Swiss Francs ($10.6m).

In addition, Giroud has also been accused of passing off blended imported wine as Swiss wine.
Giroud is from a long-established winegrowing family and in 1993 he joined his father François to create a modern wine business, Vins Giroud with the aim of putting Valais wines on the world stage. By Swiss wine standards the company built up a wine empire with a very public face sponsoring a string of sports clubs and both sporting and cultural events.

The ‘Affaire Giroud’ as it has become known in Switzerland has attracted much media interest in the country including from Swiss National TV who ran a documentary about it that Giroud tried unsuccessfully to block. Giroud is believed to have employed a hacker to spy on journalists investigating the affair.

A new director is now at the head of Vins Giroud, although Dominique Giroud remains a shareholder. The company is in the process of changing its name to ‘Château Constellation’, a name that may draw the attention of Constellation Brands, one of the world's largest drinks companies.

Alongside Giroud, three others were arrested this week including a professional hacker and a private detective. The crime of computer data theft may result in a five-year prison sentence.

Source: http://www.wine-searcher.com/