Legacy of Joël Robuchon, the war continues: damning testimony revealed and contested by the accused, “it made me vomit”

Justine Texier
| Journalist

Passionate about sport and tennis, Justine entered the celebrity world and never left it again! On the lookout for the smallest secrets of the big screen, she knows everything about couples and separations. You won't be able to hide gossip from him!

Will their ordeal ever end? Since the death of their father, the famous chef Joël Robuchon, 6 years ago, his children, Eric, Sophie and Louis, have been plunged into a legal battle that they would have liked to avoid: Sophie Robuchon has also filed a complaint against the lawyer and notary responsible for the succession of their father's empire. And the fight is tough, despite overwhelming testimony.

Legacy of Joël Robuchon, the war continues: damning testimony revealed and contested by the accused, “it made me vomit”

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She’s a Sophie Robuchon.”disappointed” who agreed to testify to our colleagues from Release : tired for 6 years by the fight to recover the management of her father's inheritance Joel Robuchonthe young woman, also at the head of a restaurant with her husband, spoke with great transparency.

It's been six years now that we are caught in the throes of this succession. You can't imagine the violence for our family, having to endure this psychologically. We only ask to continue my father's work, by developing new and beautiful projects around his passion: cooking.“, she explained. It must be said that the “at least questionable management” inheritance takes a lot of time and energy.

Due, in particular, to a major legal battle started by the family against a notary, Eric Fouché, and a lawyer, Yves-Marie Ravet, initially responsible for managing the estate of the septuagenarian. A difficult succession: dying at age 73 in August 2018the leader had left “goods, cash but above all a complex constellation of companies“according to our colleagues. To manage them, the two lawyers set up a trust, which”allows the provisional transfer of intangible assets of the estate to protect possible commercial disputes“.

But according to Sophie Robuchon, it is above all to control all this money that this financial arrangement is put in place: as her lawyer explains, she and her brothers would no longer have any control over their fortune. “This allowed the maneuvering council to dispossess the heirs of the rights and brands of Mr. Joël Robuchon and to grant itself almost unlimited management powers over the brands. Since then, Sophie Robuchon has not been able to exercise the slightest control over the management of this trust, particularly through management reports which are not given to her as provided for in the contract.“, he explained, what the lawyer's office fervently contests.

Sophie Robuchon for her part attacked in civil and criminal proceedings, For “organized gang fraudaggravated breach of trust, abuse of weakness and illegal taking of interest” and will see the first trial take place at the end of May.

Unpaid fees… or fraudulent?

But it will only be one step in this long battle… since Sophie Robuchon and the two men, who have awarded themselves the caps of “president, partner and beneficiary” of the trust, are also opposed in a matter of fees. Considering that the young woman and her family did not pay what they owed her, the lawyer Yves-Marie Ravet seized the President of the Paris Bar.

Who, to everyone's surprise, took the side of the Robuchon family! Characterizing the trust as “a system with absolute opacity“, he calls into question the management by the two partners, denounces the invoices which are too murky and summons the lawyer to reimburse the 8 million euros received between October 2018 and May 2022 for the estate and the 700,000 euros for the management of the different companies. While this one asked for 700,000 euros more from the family!

A decision “unworthy“according to the defendant's lawyer, who swears that”Sophie Robuchon, her mother and her brothers were informed each month of the details of the invoices paid“. Qualified as “huge joke” by Sophie Robuchon, who recalls that her mother is suffering from Parkinson's disease and sees his judgment very impaired, this accusation was also undermined by the testimony of a former employee of the firm.

A damning testimony

Fanny Collet, former invoicing assistant at Ravet and associates between June 2019 and April 2022, explained to our colleagues that she was “disgusted“of what she observed and”confirmed” the abuses alleged by Sophie Robuchon.

There is monstrous excesses in the amount of fees set. The big game at Ravet's office is to bill based on time spent, a great pride that he says he brought back from England. Clearly, for an email that took ten minutes, he charges thirty. For a one-hour meeting, it takes two hours and so on. The other trick is to say that associates and collaborators support him during certain meetings while he is alone. There, we add fictitious times that one or two partners would have spent, and we easily end up with fees doubled or even tripled“, she denounces in particular, she who was “responsible for preparing invoices“.

Very often, he would take them again and cross out in order to increase the times or add speakers then he would retransmit his annotations to me in order to make the modifications.“, she added.

A strong testimony which could prove the cook's family right, to finally close this case: “If I speak, it is because what Sophie Robuchon says about fees is perfectly correct. I found it shameful and I decided to leave the structure to no longer condone this. Before, I had to participate in establishing the procedure for taxing fees introduced by Yves-Marie Ravet, it made me vomit. For him, the Robuchon succession was like a goose that laid golden eggs“, accuses the young woman. Of course, the lawyer firmly denies these accusations, explaining thathe “will not accept being sacrificed on the altar of these manipulations. His lawyer has also refuted any wrongdoing.

Sophie Robuchon's lawyer, on the other hand, did not fail to react to this extremely serious testimony: “If Ms. Collet's statements are accurate, we would almost be dealing with a possible criminal association. Indeed, it would be a very sophisticated and unprecedented system which would have allowed legal professionals, having probably used the credit granted to them, to abuse clients“, he accuses our colleagues.

Justice must now determine the extent of the responsibilities incurred. It must pass in all its dimensions, civil, criminal, disciplinary but it must do so quickly before the damage caused to the Robuchon family is irremediable and irreversible.“, he concludes. And we imagine that for Eric and Sophie Robuchon, as well as for their little brother Louisthe end of this story would be the greatest relief…

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