The independent journalist, author of an investigation into the private nursing home group Orpea, explains that he has been under a lot of pressure so that his book does not come out.
“I underwent during this investigation a certain number of pressures to avoid going to the end of the investigation.” Guest of the program C à vous on Tuesday evening, the independent journalist Victor Castanet returned to the threats and proposals that would have been made to him so that his book-investigation, the Gravediggers, do not come out. “It happened halfway through my investigation that an interlocutor offered me a large sum of money to dissuade me from going to the end: 15 million euros”, he explained at the table of Anne-Elisabeth Lemoine.
In the Gravediggers, which appears this Wednesday, Victor Castanet describes a system where hygiene care, medical care and meals for residents are “rationed” to improve the profitability of the private nursing home group Orpea. And this, while stays are billed at a high price – nearly 6,500 euros per month for a hotel room.“entry level” at the residence “les Bords de Seine” in Neuilly, assures the author.
On the set of BFM TV this Wednesday morning, he reiterated his accusations, stating that he had received “threats from the group” during this investigation “long and difficult”. Some of his sources, with whom he had long exchanged, notably mysteriously backtracked overnight. And one “an intermediary” who does not come “not directly from the group”, would therefore have offered him a huge sum of money.
Reaction of the political class
If the pressures were such, it was because Orpea knew it had a lot to lose. After publication in the world of its good leaves, the Paris Stock Exchange unscrewed, losing 30% in two days.
The excerpts from the book have caused a strong reaction from the political class in recent days. Socialist deputies have for example asked that parliamentarians be able to have a right of visit in nursing homes on the model of what is practiced for places of deprivation of liberty. On the right and on the far right, we have also denounced the management of the health crisis in nursing homes by the government and asked for the creation of a parliamentary commission on the management of these establishments by private groups. On the government side, the Minister Delegate for Autonomy, Brigitte Bourguignon, announced on Twitter this Tuesday evening the summons of the Director General of Orpea “as soon as possible, at the request of Olivier Véran” to “Let light be shed on the serious facts mentioned in Victor Castanet’s book”.
“We formally contest all of these accusations which we consider to be false, outrageous and prejudicial”, for its part reacted in a press release the management of Orpea, castigating “sensationalist excesses” and an “manifest intention to harm”. The group indicates that it has seized its lawyers to give “all the consequences, including on the legal level”, to the publication of the book, in order “to reestablish the truth of the facts”.