Elise Lucet and her ‘Cash Investigation’ team conducted an in-depth investigation of the ultra-rich, their tailor-made rules and their tax privileges. The investigation, which took months of painstaking research, aims to shed light on how the scale of wealth is unbalanced and how the wealthiest manage to use the system to reduce their tax burden. The team took a close look at the complex financial mechanisms these individuals used to maintain their wealth.
InvestigationElise Lucet focused not only on the situation in France, but also in other countries where these practices are common. The results are shocking: not only do they reveal that the gap between the richest and the rest is widening, but they also show that this disparity is often caused by own rules created specifically to allow the ultra-rich to maintain their status.
It should be emphasized that this investigation is not an attack on wealth or those who are financially successful. Rather, it is a critique of the current system, which too often favors those already at the top at the expense of the rest of the population. Elise Lucet and ‘Cash Investigation’ hope that by putting these questions in the spotlight, they will contribute to a more balanced public debate about Taxation AND social justice.
Tax breaks for the ultra-rich
One of the main findings of the investigation by Elise Lucet and her team is that the ultra-rich often benefit from significant tax advantages. Among them, the Dutreil Pact was particularly highlighted. This system allows family business owners to significantly reduce inheritance tax when they transfer their assets to their heirs. In practice, this means that family wealth can be preserved and increased generationally with a minimal tax burden.
Another notable example involves yacht charters. The team found that it is common for the ultra-rich to avoid VAT on these rentals by using a contract of carriage. This contract stipulates that the yacht is chartered for a specific voyage and not for a fixed period, allowing the owner to escape VAT, which is normally paid on the total cost of the charter.
However, it should also be noted that this is not just a national or European issue. Favorable tax rules enjoyed by the ultra-rich are commonplace around the world. From offshore tax havens to tailor-made laws in some developed countries, these individuals often have a comprehensive arsenal of tools at their disposal to minimize their tax burden.
Although legal in their current form, these benefits give the ultra-rich a privileged position that contributes to increasing overall economic inequality. The investigation by Elise Lucet and her team aims to highlight these practices in order to stimulate a more informed public debate on the issue tax fairness.
Salary inequalities in CAC40 groups
The “Cash Investigation” team also investigated pay inequalities in CAC40 companies, focusing in particular on the case of Carrefour. The survey found a growing disparity between the pay of rank-and-file employees and CEO Alexandre Bompard. According to data analyzed by the team, Mr. Bompard would receive an annual salary of around 9.7 million euros in 2019, more than 300 times the average salary of a full-time employee at Carrefour.
This situation points to a wider problem of pay inequality in large French and international companies. Although these inequalities are often justified by the need to attract and retain the best talent for managerial positions, they nevertheless contribute to widening the gap between ordinary workers and the economic elite. By exposing these differences, ‘Cash Investigation’ hopes to stimulate constructive debate about fairness in remuneration in the corporate world.
Debate after survey
After the new episode of ‘Cash Investigation’ aired, a debate was held on the issues raised by the investigation. Elise Lucet, as moderator, asked her guests targeted questions to shed further light on the tax and pay inequality issues highlighted by her report. Guests included financial experts, government officials and activists for economic equality.
The debate allowed for an in-depth discussion on the issue of the Dutreil Pact contract of carriage used to avoid VAT when chartering yachts. Financial experts defend these practices as legal and necessary to encourage investment and maintain economic momentum. But campaigners countered that it was unfair that only the ultra-rich benefited from such large tax breaks.
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During the debate, the specific issue of salary inequalities in Carrefour was also addressed. CEO Alexandre Bompard’s high pay was at the heart of heated debate. Some have supported the principle that significant compensation is necessary to attract top talent to these highly strategic positions, while others have emphasized how difficult it is for the average employee at Carrefour to accept this distinction.
In the end, despite their differences on certain specific points, all participants in the debate seemed to share a consensus: there is a need for a broader and deeper discussion about taxes and pay equity. By sparking this debate, Elise Lucet and the “Cash Investigation” have succeeded in highlighting critical issues that require the attention of the public and policy makers.