9 December 2013 | First reaction from Dominique Giroud in Le Nouvelliste

Interview with Dominique Giroud

Three days after the broadcast on RTS of a report whose defamatory nature will shortly be examined by the Federal Court, Dominique Giroud gave an interview to the Nouvelliste in which he categorically denies having cheated with the St-Saphorin appellation.

Dominique Giroud, is it true, as has been said in the media, that you defrauded the tax authorities?

During the course of their careers, companies and economic players may come into contact with the tax authorities. It is true that the Valais State Tax Office has opened an investigation and has asked the Federal Administration to carry out investigations. This procedure is currently underway and will determine whether there really was an error.

You have been searched.

Yes, I was searched. The investigators did their job, in my opinion with somewhat disproportionate means.

Did you use shell companies to evade tax, particularly in tax havens as has been mentioned?

No, a lot of companies were attributed to me at the start of the investigation. This proved to be unfounded. However, it is true that I own several companies, all of which have very specific functions in my business activities.

Where does this case stand now?

We are in discussions with the administration and are in the process of settling our final differences of opinion.

You will have to pay the tax due and a fine. Could this jeopardise your company?

It's difficult for me to answer your question because I don't know the amount that could be claimed from me. I haven't seen any desire on the part of the authorities to jeopardise my business.

People in the audience are wondering how you managed to build an empire from almost nothing. How did you do it?

I laugh when people talk about an empire. I run a company with just over 100 employees. This is not unique in the canton. I started my business when I was 21, and I'm now 42. I've worked hard all these years. The growth of my business can also be explained by the fact that I've been able to adapt to the market and respond to its demands. The downside is that I unfortunately don't have enough time for my family, as is the case for many committed entrepreneurs.

The searches of your home took place over two years ago. Why is this case coming out now?

I'm very surprised. Cases like this are not meant to be made public, because if there is a problem, it is a matter for the tax authorities and my companies alone.

The name of State Councillor Maurice Tornay has been mentioned. What does he have to do with your case?

Absolutely nothing. A few years ago, his trustee was asked to audit my company's accounts. I was one of their many clients. I subsequently changed trustee, to adapt to the criteria in terms of size for auditing my accounts. Her trustee was never involved in this procedure, nor was she implicated.

Are you still active in politics?

No, I haven't for a very long time. I'm not affiliated to any party. But I do vote right.

French-speaking television reported on another case, that of Vaud wines. Did you cheat with the Saint-Saphorin appellation?

No! In 2006, I had several lots of Vaud wines to sell. Obviously I couldn't sell the wine under a Valais company name, so I asked a broker to contact a Vaud winery so that I could sell the wine under a Vaud company name, which is customary in the industry. The broker sent me the desired label and told me that I had authorisation from the winery. Due to a problem between the broker and the cellarer, the latter lodged a complaint.

Following my explanations, the winery acknowledged that I had never intended to harm it and withdrew its complaint nearly 2 years ago.

For my part, I have asked the Federal Wine Commission to validate the wines concerned, and this is in order.

Nouvelliste of 9 December 2013

Picture of Dominique Giroud

Dominique Giroud

I'm facing a media storm. I've been wrongly accused of tampering with my wines to make money. Journalists have overdramatised and criticised without any nuance. In so doing, they have tarnished and perhaps ruined forever my reputation as an oenologist. Faced with these accusations, I have decided to publish my version of events on this website.

Readers will be the judge.

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