Chanel is facing charges of
“systematic smuggling” in Turkey
The fashion giant, with over 200 stores across the world and around 1 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.
The suspects are accused of systematically and consciously acting with the aim of not paying required customs taxes to the Turkish state.
The directorate claims that some of the products sold at Chanel stores in Istanbul, which are located in two of the city’s top high-street shopping venues, Nişantaşı and the İstinye Park shopping mall, are brought from abroad in suitcases by Chanel employees, who are used as couriers.
Because the retailer sells ultra-expensive special design goods, the total value of the products carried in two suitcases – the allowed baggage amount – can reach up to 1 million euros, the legal document claimed.
It also cites intra-company e-mail correspondences between the employees of Istanbul stores and Chanel’s Paris headquarters as evidence of fraud. According to this correspondence, one of the suspected employees in Istanbul asks her colleague in Paris how to register the goods that were free of duty payments.
The instructions given by the employee in France are included in the file, which also includes claims that documents were forged to evade duty payments.