Jean Charles Naouri

Targeted by investment funds betting on his downfall, Casino boss Jean-Charles Naouri is looking for support from the European Commission. One of its lobbying firms, ESL & Network, is mobilising Brussels against the stock market transactions that are destabilising the French group.

The casino boss, Jean-Charles Naouriis looking for support in Brussels, in the battle against activist funds. Its lobbying firm, ESL & Network, is working to convince the European Commission, whose executive will take office on 1 November under the chairmanship of Ursula von der Leyen, of the harmfulness of these investment funds. The lobbying and economic intelligence group declared in mid-August a contract with Casino Guichard for an amount between €50,000 and €100,000 in the European Parliament.

According to our information, it is two partners of the Parisian firm and not those operating in Brussels who represent the distribution leader. Nicolas Sarkozy‘s former Sherpa, Jean-David Levitte, and the enarque Dominique Leblanc have already made contact on 4 February 2019 with the Frenchman Olivier Guersent, Director General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union of the European Commission. Public affairs officials of the leading retailer had already undertaken this senior official at an meeting dedicated to American funds in November 2016.

Launched a few months before the European elections and a change of executive, ESL & Network’s approaches to the commission have, for the time being, remained a dead letter. In Brussels, lobbyists mandated by Jean-Charles Naouri, who is also a member of ESL & Network’s strategic advisory board, had called for stricter regulations on short selling in the face of stock market attacks suffered by their clients since the end of 2018.

Exposed due to the debt of its holding Rallye, a 51.7% shareholder in the Casino group, Jean-Charles Naouri also mobilises the financial centre via the Afep, which brings together the main French groups. Casino representatives also rely on Arnaud de Bresson, General Delegate of Paris Europlace and representative of the Paris financial centre in Brussels, who is currently leading a working group on these activist funds.