Lurton financier facing embezzlement charges

French winemaker François Lurton’s former finance director is due in court for embezzling €50,000 of funds from the wine company between 2008 and 2011.

François Lurton

François Lurton

According to the Wine Spectator, the man, who cannot be named, confessed to the French police to writing himself 14 fake checks to the value of €50,000 while working for Lurton.

He did so by creating false invoices on letterhead paper from fictitious companies while at the same time paying legitimate invoices to himself rather than the company.

The man was rumbled last year when Lurton’s current financial director, Vincent Bréelle, smelt a rat after vendors began demanding payment for supposedly paid invoices.

The culprit, who is allegedly in his ‘40s, is expected to appear before a tribunal in Bordeaux before the end of the year after Lurton pressed charges. His vendors have since been paid in full.

“This unfortunate episode tarnished our reputation with certain consultants who hadn’t been paid due to this embezzlement,” Bréelle told the WS.

“We aren’t bitter, but we are a well-known company in the wine world, and even if we don’t ask for damages, we expect to recover the money,” he added.

Based in Bordeaux, Francois Lurton owns wine estates in France, Spain, Argentina and Chile.

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