Prominent Bordeaux and Cognac proprietor Jean-Paul Lafragette is under investigation for financial misconduct over his cognac business, L&L.
Lafragette, owner the Alizé cocktail brand, appeared in a Bordeaux court in May and has been temporarily suspended as managing director of the company.
An administrator is running operations at L&L until June 27, when the court should return a decision.
The charge was brought by the Kopf family, founders of wine and spirits distribution company Kobrand and Lafragette’s partners in Alizé.
Lafragette is the inventor of Alizé, a cognac-based cocktail which is highly successful in the US. The Kopf family is majority shareholder.
Kobrand also has partnerships with the Moueix family in Libourne, and owns Burgundy producer Louis Jadot.
Jean-Paul Lafragette, who owns just under 50% of the company, has been accused by the Kopf family of mixing up the accounts between L&L and his other interests.
Internal and external investigations are underway, and the accounts for 2005 have been seized.
Lafragette and his wife Marie-Claude claim the business itself is in no danger, and point to the continual and growing success of the brand in the US.
They claim inconsistencies are down to complicated accounting processes and personal differences of opinion between business associates. His daughter Beatrice Lafragette told decanter.com, ‘This is a conflict between two shareholders. There has not been a verdict yet’.
The Lafragette family also owns a number of prominent wineries in Bordeaux, including Chateau Loudenne and Chateau Rouillac. Beatrice Lafragette stressed that the two businesses are run entirely separately.
‘There is a different management team, director and staff. This investigation in no way affects the Bordeaux chateaux.’
Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux