How three top French companies avoided €141 million in taxes in Malta

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Three major French firms, carmakers Renault and PSA Peugeot Citroën plus retailer Auchan, have set up insurance companies in Malta to save themselves from paying tens of millions of euros in taxes in France. The revelation comes from Malta Files, a four-month investigation by Mediapart and its partners in the European Investigative Collaborations journalistic collective (EIC) into one of Europe's lesser-known tax havens. Although what the three firms are doing is legal, the two car firms are successfully avoiding paying tax to the French state even though it is a major shareholder in each of them. Yann Philippin reports.

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The most productive employee at Renault does not work at the giant French carmaker's headquarters in Boulogne-Billancourt south-west of Paris, but in Malta. This unknown worker produces on their own an annual turnover of 108 million euros a year. For they are the sole employee of RCI Insurance Limited, one of Renault's two Malta-based insurance companies. The sole purpose of these cash cow companies is to avoid paying tax in France – at a time when many would argue that the French state has need of all the revenue it can get.