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Champagne Esterlin managers charged with fraud

Three managers of a Champagne house have been indicted today for fraud after allegedy mislabelling tens of thousands of bottles.

The president and director of Champagne Esterlin have been indicted for fraud and misuse of company property. The chef de cave has also been accused, but charged only with fraud.

All three have been granted bail but under strict conditions.

According to the police the cooperative was fraudulently labelling wines under false vintages. The police report states that tens of thousands of bottles were falsely labelled and that the practice had been going on over several years.

Police are also examining the acquisition by Esterlin of several local businesses, all linked to Champagne.

According to the Associated Press agency customs investigations are also examining the possibility of an illegal level of chaptalisation – the adding of sugar to the fermenting must.

Champagne Esterlin confirmed today it is under investigation but refused to comment.

Written by Oliver Styles, and agencies

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