Lycamobile has been raided by police in Paris with 19 people arrested on suspicion of money laundering and tax fraud, BuzzFeed News has reported.
An investigation by the newswire found that of those arrested, nine were charged including Lycamobile’s general manager in France, Alain Jochimek. According to reports, €1m was seized from the MVNO’s headquarters and a number of residential and business addresses across the city. Lycamobile’s French bank accounts have been frozen.
The news follows a previous BuzzFeed investigation into the MVNO last year, which alleged that the Lyca telecoms groups deployed three to drive around in unmarked cars depositing money of up to £1m each week.
At time Lycamobile issued a strong rebuttal to the claims, stating: ‘We deny all allegations and inferences of wrongdoing over the preceding few days and will defend such allegations robustly. We have asked our external lawyers to review the articles and consider all legal options against BuzzFeed.’
The MVNO also faced intense media scrutiny at the beginning of 2016 after The Guardian claimed that Lycamobile had become embroiled in a £9.5m unpaid tax scandal. An investigation by the paper looked at filings from Companies House which showed that the MVNO failed to publish its accounts for the last year, missing the deadline by two months.
Mobile has contacted Lycamobile and is awaiting a response.