“The short-term viability of the SEM Event made in France appeared to be compromised long before the consequences of the pandemic crisis”. Made public a few days ago, the report of the Regional Chamber of Accounts on the management of the mixed economy company (SEM) from 2016 to 2019, is harsh about the financial future of this organizing structure of the Electrobeach festival at Barcares, one of the biggest European electro events (the 4th in France for all types of music). Even though the 2020 and 2021 editions have been canceled due to the Covid.
The regional chamber of accounts, which has dissected the management of the SEM Event made in France since its creation in 2016 “outside any formal contractual framework with the municipality”, extracted gaps, irregularities and other curiosities. It first points to the very structuring of the company’s capital. Up to € 135,000, it is held by the municipality of Barcarès (74.08%) and six private shareholders of the show or event (25.92%). “All in business with the SEM or the municipality, for amounts clearly greater than their low financial contribution”, leaving support to the community “an almost exclusive risk”.
“Rude frauds of the former director”
“The quality of financial and accounting information insufficient” also calls for court observations. As “lack of control” (on stocks of entrance bracelets and goodies for example or payments) in addition to “deficiencies” who have “favored the appearance (or rather the continuity) of gross fraud by the former director“. This employee, we learn, would have substituted his bank details for that of the SEM (which filed a complaint) in order to be paid € 625,000 to his personal account by the company managing the ticket office. The man, who had been taken into custody, would have been released under judicial supervision during the investigation. “gaps” at the origin of this embezzlement, believe the financial magistrates, are “potentially constituting management errors attributable to the leaders of the SEM civilly punishable”.
Not to mention the list of other oddities. Such as the payment into the bank account of the same former director of the SEM of € 33,000 for advertising costs that he would have advanced out of his own funds. Or the “conflict of interest” on the dual function of the head of musical programming and also producer of artists, having invoiced more than 1M € to the SEM over 4 years. Or the unauthorized use of the company’s bank card by the administrator Alain Ferrand (then mayor of Barcarès, he will succeed Joseph Garcia as president of the SEM in October 2020 Editor’s note) for a trip abroad. And then, this only food and drink stand that benefited from a reduced commission (5% instead of 23% for the others) due to “its isolated location”. The manager of this stand being “ also that of a restaurant in the Marina nightclub complex “, whose responsible is none other than Alain Ferrand. The same night establishment, recalls the room, which “has already been the subject of a formal notice for the use of the distinctive signs (name, logo) of the EMF festival until 2018”.
€ 1 million to be reimbursed to the municipality
Balance sheet: “weakened”, with a tight cash flow and “late payments from suppliers“,”short-term viability ” of the SEM “appears committed as much as it should have repaid a debt of 1M € contracted with the municipality” in 2017. “Advance” further judged “irregular”. So, to face, if the possibility of ceding the festival would be considered, “this hypothesis is legally very questionable”, underlines the regional chamber of accounts, “because the SEM does not own the festival created by the municipality as aactivity of general interest “, nor even the Electrobeach-EMF brand. In addition, the sale would pose another problem according to the institution. Considering that the Electrobeach would be valued at 4.56 M € (average turnover for the 4 financial years), “such an operation would be unusually profitable for the six private shareholders” with regard to their sole investment for a total amount of € 35,000. And especially since such a transaction would not guarantee the maintenance of the Electrobeach in Barcarès, even though the municipality has made it its flagship promotional tool.
“There will be a 2022 edition of the Electrobeach and it will be even more beautiful”
For Alain Ferrand, mayor of Baracrès and president of the SEM Event made in France since October 2020, “the company has very favorable future prospects”. “The general interest of this festival can be found in its enormous economic and social benefits far beyond the municipality of Barcarès even though it is done with a small structure and without the SEM having the help. neither of the Department, nor of the agglomeration. The Court of Auditors even values the brand at 5 M € it’s fabulous. So, on the possibility of selling the festival, we will see. Anyway, after two years without any help , we are still there, it is a strong sign. We have reimbursed for the cancellations and, I assure you, there will be a 2022 edition of the Electrobeach and it will be even more beautiful “.
And Alain Ferrand to specify: “The fiscal years in question have been subject to a tax audit. All the accounts have been accepted by the tax administration which has considered the management to be conclusive and regular. Of course, the recommendations will be taken into account and everything will be done. to improve management. Regarding the use of the bank card, when I go to look for DJs in Ibiza for example, I have to find the best table to convince the artist to come to Barcarès rather than elsewhere. And should I pay the costs? As for the case of the former director, he made some forgery, justice will pass. It is a disaster and we will do everything to recover the money ” .