Migros-Piller affair: The cooperators will decide via an unprecedented vote – News Switzerland: French-speaking Switzerland


The 124'000 Neuchatel and Friborg co-operators decide until Saturday on the revocation of the administration of Migros Neuchatel-Friborg (MNF), including its president Damien Piller. This unprecedented vote will settle the conflict between Migros and the businessman.

Cooperators – who are not necessarily holders of the Cumulus card – are quite accustomed to approving the annual accounts or electing the various bodies of MNF. This time, they give their voice in an extraordinary general vote, unprecedented within the cooperative, which has some 2,600 employees.

Normally entrusted to the administration – the equivalent of a board of directors – the organization of the vote was delegated to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the statutory review body of MNF. He is in charge of certain functions of the administration, when it is not able to assume them, according to the statutes.

Voting modalities

Informed by an official notification of voting in the Migros Magazine of 28 October, the cooperators have until Saturday to return their voting card by post. It is the Neuchatel notary Fritz Stahl who receives these newsletters. He will chair the electoral office, composed of four people, including two co-operators.

The counting will begin November 18 at noon and will end on November 20 at noon at the latest. The results are expected at the earliest in the afternoon of 20 November via a press release or at the latest in Migros Magazine, on 25 November or even 2 December.

However, the vote could be invalidated. Involved: the voting cards must be returned without an envelope or a legitimation card. "We can not rule out an invalidation" requested by either party based on the results, Fritz Stahl told Keystone-ATS.

In a statement, MNF said Friday that "all provisions are implemented to ensure compliance and security necessary for voting". The process respects the bylaws and the election regulations, according to the regional cooperative.


As a reminder, all the bodies of MNF, except the administration which is blocking behind its president, and the Federation of Migros Cooperatives (FCM) accuse the businessman of having invoiced to Migros nearly 1.7 million francs via two of its companies, "without receiving equivalent counter-benefits in exchange".

Damien Piller, an attorney active in real estate and the media in particular, who has been chairing MNF for 23 years, allegedly embezzled funds in new stores built in Belfaux and La Roche (FR) in 2013 and 2014. Various reports come to this conclusion, according to the cooperative.

In response, the Fribourgeois opened the accounts of the two companies in question to a chartered accountant and an architect. The results of these audits revealed last Monday indicated that the two amounts of 864,000 francs, including all taxes, correspond to services provided, according to the businessman.

The MNF cooperative committee – representing the interests of co-operators and consumers -, the management of MNF – which operates the cooperative co-operatively – and the MNF staff commission require the revocation of the entire MNF administration. The presidents of the nine other Migros cooperatives, the G. and A. Duttweiler Foundation – named after the founder of Migros – and the FCM are of the same opinion.

Presumption of innocence

The administration of MNF – which sets the objectives and strategy of the cooperative – asked this summer a "neutral" expertise to the Geneva lawyer Alan Hughes. According to the administration, this report, although "severe", "dismissed the accusations" against the Friborg. The administration describes its four members as "people dedicated to Migros and its values".

In addition, Damien Piller has the support of M-Ethique, a new group of cooperators. Claiming to be independent, this group accuses FCM of having "flouted Migros's ethical values, starting with the presumption of innocence and the right to be heard" on their website. M-Ethique has announced that it will take the Neuchatel court to cancel the vote on 16 November.

For the moment, seven criminal complaints have already been filed in this case. Among other things, the FCM and the management of MNF have separately filed a criminal complaint against the Fribourgeois and unknown, for unfair management. Damien Piller, who will not run as president of MNF in June, has filed a complaint against unknown for violation of honor. (Ps / nxp)

Created: 11.11.2019, 09:21

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