Les 5 du Vin

5 journalistes parlent du vin

4 Commentaires

1855.com – renewed investigation as new judge appointed + need for wider inquiry


A rather late news flash:
Unfortunately I missed this most recent development in the long-running 1855.com saga and am indebted to my Les 5 du Vin colleague, Hervé Lalau, for bringing this report by Jérôme Baudouin in the Revue du Vin de France back in early July 2017 to my attention.

On 6th June 2017 the President of the Chambre d’Instruction de la Cour d’Appel de Paris decided to fire the judge, who had been in charge of the enquiry, and to appoint a new one. The President was not impressed that after nearly two years the investigation appeared to be getting nowhere. Hopefully this second judge will be more effective and that there is a proper and thorough investigation into the scandal of 1855.com and its two principals – Emeric Sauty de Chalon and Fabien Hyon. 

When 1855 was forced into liquidation it had debts of over 40 million euros and millions of bottles, many of them Grand Cru Bordeaux, that were never delivered to their clients.

There has long been a strong suspicion that Hyon and Sauty de Chalon have had protection in high places. It looks as though this may have continued. 

 First two paragraphs of the RVF Report:

Affaire 1855.com : le juge dessaisi,
l’enquête redémarre

Tournant décisif dans l’affaire 1855.com, le président de la Chambre d’Instruction de la Cour d’Appel de Paris a décidé de dessaisir de son enquête le juge enquêtant sur le site frauduleux depuis 2015 pour la confier à une nouvelle juge qui va reprendre l’enquête.

Alors que depuis deux ans, l’enquête semblait s’enliser dans les méandres de l’inertie judiciaire (voir La RVF n°613 de juin 2017), l’affaire a pris un tournant surprenant et décisif, le 6 juin dernier, lors d’une audience intense de la Chambre d’Instruction de la Cour d’Appel de Paris.


A more general enquiry needed


How come the 1855.com scandal was able continue for so long? It was known for years that the company was in trouble – failing to deliver its clients’ wines and building up debts. These problems dated back at least to 2006/7 when 1855 was caught out by the rapid increase in price of the 2005 Bordeaux vintage as many of their sales were en primeur and their ‘business model’ involved taking clients’ money during the en primeur campaign but only buying the wines when they were actually in bottle.

Furthermore with debts of over 40 million euros where did the 1855 clients’ money go? Into whose pockets?

Numerous complaints were made to La Répression des Fraudes (DGCCRF) with no apparent action taken.  In early August 2012 France 2 broadcast a programme about 1855 with the clear headline ‘Arnaque’ – fraud. Clearly they felt there was no risk of the company successfully suing them for libel.

Why was 1855.com allowed to continue until January 2015 to build up debts of over 40 million euros and with huge numbers of wine orders never delivered? There should be an inquiry into why this this allowed to happen. Did the two principals – Emeric Sauty de Chalon and Fabien Hyon – have friends high up in the French state who provided protection? Why has the enquiry into the company made so little progress over the past two years that a new judge has had to be appointed?

Jim Budd


15 Commentaires

1855/Héraclès is finally bust but many, many questions remain to be answered!

Emeric Sauty de Chalon

Emeric Sauty de Chalon, founder and PPG of Héraclès

Fabien Hyon, managing director

Fabien Hyon, managing director

Last Friday’s final collapse into liquidation of Héraclès/1855 is good news as Hélène Poulou, the tenacious Bordeaux lawyer who has pursued this scam for a number of years, says.

Whether her nearly 400 clients will get much of the around €5 million, excluding damages, they are owed is another question. Poulou’s clients paid around €1.2 million for wine they never received. The figure of €5 million is based on the current value of the wine ordered as well as the various fines that were imposed on the Héraclès group due to their failure to deliver.
How much, if any, of the more than €40 million claimed by over 11,000 clients of this long-running scam will they ever see?
Two of a host of questions that the long-running scandal of 1855/Héraclès raises.  

Here are a few more:

1855’s failure to deliver wines, especially en primeur Bordeaux, date back at least to the 2002 vintage. Although the serious problems started following the 2005 vintage, when the prices shot up and Hyon and Chalon’s decision to sell short blew up in their faces – or strictly speaking in the faces of their unfortunate clients. Yet despite an ever increasing volume of complaints, legal action and coverage in the media – print, TV and on-line, Hyon and Chalon were permitted to continue to fleece their clients to the end of 2014. 

Why wasn’t this scam closed down much earlier?
Why no action from the Répression des Fraudes despite receiving complaints dating back years? 11,000 clients fleeced to the tune of over €40 million would seem to be reasonably significant…..
Héraclès/1855 went into administration in October 2013. Although it was clear that Emeric Sauty de Chalon and Fabien Hyon were a pair of deliquents and not fit to run any business, the Tribunal de Commerce de Paris allowed them to continue to involved in running the company.

Did Emeric Sauty de Chalon and Fabien Hyon enjoy hidden high-level protection from within the French establishment? Did having Jean-Pierre Meyers as a long time shareholder perhaps provide them with a shield?

Did this protection extend into the Tribunal de Commerce de Paris who inexplicably waved through the innumerate and clearly inadequate business recovery plan. The mysterious PLF1 group based in Luxembourg offered only a total of €2.5 million yet the claimed debts totalled over €40 million. The €2.5 million was to be paid in two tranches – €1 million and then a further €1.5 million once the recovery plan had been accepted. Many clients who had ordered Bordeaux Cru Classés were to be palmed off with bottles of 2012 Bordeaux Supérieur, while the larger creditors were to be repaid over 8 years with the repayments weighted towards the end of the repayment period. 
In September 2014 the Tribunal accepted the assurances of an apparent ‘representative’ of PLF1 that the promised funds would be forthcoming. Yet in early December 2014 PLF1 informed the Tribunal that the person who gave the court the assurances back in September did not work or speak for PLF1!
Little is known of the shadowy PLF1. Was this a desperate late ditch ruse by Emeric Sauty de Chalon and Fabien Hyon? Or was it, perhaps, a life boat constructed by one or more of Chalon and Hyon’s well connected former shareholders?  
What of this comment on an article by La Revue du Vin Vin de France (25.10.13) detailing links with the Héraclès group?
‘Anonyme, le 17 novembre 2013 à 19:55
Cette affaire est pour le moins scandaleuse, après la mise en RJ de ses 2 filiales une société PLF1 s’est manifestée par le biais d’une assignation en justice (audience au TGI de bordeaux le 19 novembre à 9h) afin de prendre la main sur les stocks bloquées dans un entrepôt dans la banlieue de bordeaux alors que plusieurs centaines de clients n’ont jamais reçu les vins commandés et payés et de nombreux fournisseurs n’ont pas été règles de leurs créances. Quelques explications pour y voir plus claire: Domiciliée au Luxembourg PLF1 est une société d’investissement liée aux 6 sociétés du groupe 1855, Aphrodite elle même holding de tête en france, actionnaire majoritaire de sociétés héracles (anciennement 1855), Arès (Ex château online) Athena (centrale d’achat) Cave privée et les chais de la transat. L’ensemble des ces sociétés sont contrôlées par ses 2 dirigeants français. Intéressant également, une société elle-même basée à Londres Boost & Co intervient dans cette affaire, réclamant la propriété des stocks à travers un prétendu titre de gage sur les vins encore disponible. L’un de ses représentants s’était présenté en juillet dernier lors d’une vente aux enchères organisée à Bordeaux à la suite d’une importante saisie des stocks de 1855 pour, en vain tenter d’interrompre la vente.’
But if there were direct links between PLF1 and Héraclès why did PLF1 pull the plug on Héraclès at the beginning of December 2014?
What of the role of Boost & Co (http://www.boostandco.com) with offices in Paris and London?
BOOST & Co Paris office, 14 bis rue Daru, 75008 Paris +33 6 19 39 24 23; BOOST & Co London office – The Mews, 1A Birkenhead Street, London WC1H 8BA + 44 207 923 6231. A Google search shows that there are a number of companies based at 1A Birkenhead Street.
Despite all this why did the Tribunal de Commerce de Paris become complicit in this long-running scam when they gave Emeric Sauty de Chalon and Fabien Hyon the green light to go on their merry ways and continue to fleece their unfortunate clients? 

Is the Tribunal de Commerce de Paris always this incompetent or was this a one off? There are suggestions that Emeric Sauty de Chalon is a freemason. Were there perhaps fellow masons on the Tribunal who didn’t want mon cher Emeric go to the wall?

Will French justice now at long last catch up with the two delinquents – Hyon and Sauty de Chalon? Will there now be a serious investigation into what happened to all the money paid to Emeric Sauty de Chalon and Fabien Hyon’s companies for wine that was never bought or delivered? Did Emeric Sauty de Chalon and Fabien Hyon simply just trouser large dollops of cash or was it spent on glamorous parties and launches?

A suivre! 






13 Commentaires

20 novembre 2014 – journée noire pour l’e-commerce du vin en France


Emeric Sauty de Chalon: a great magician whose renowned speciality is changing cases of First Growth Bordeaux into bottles of Bordeaux Supérieur that can be purchased from Cora supermarkets for 5.50€. « Emetic is a rare talent! » Charles Ponzi.


Fabien Hyon: another great magician

’20 novembre 2014 – Validation du plan de continuation d’Héraclès – COMMUNIQUE DE PRESSE

Héraclès annonce aujourd’hui que le Tribunal de commerce de Paris a homologué son plan de continuation, entraînant la clôture de la procédure de redressement judiciaire de la société faîtière du groupe. Ce plan a été présenté avec le soutien du partenaire financier historique du groupe. En octobre 2013, Héraclès s’était placée sous la protection du Tribunal de Commerce de Paris afin de mettre en place un plan de traitement global et équitable des derniers clients attendant des Bordeaux Primeurs.

Au cours des douze derniers mois, il a été possible de construire une solution permettant à tous les clients concernés d’obtenir soit le remboursement intégral et progressif du montant de leur commande, soit une livraison garantie d’une sélection de vins de Bordeaux de qualité. A ce jour, plus de 500 clients concernés ont choisi une livraison de vins en remplacement de leur commande initiale de Bordeaux Primeurs.

Avec la clôture de la procédure de redressement judiciaire, Héraclès a donc aujourd’hui l’opportunité de reprendre sereinement le développement de l’activité de vente de vins des différentes marques du groupe.’


Last Thursday Heracles, a French internet wine company, announced in the above press release that the Tribunal de Commerce in Paris had accepted their business plan, which included how they would repay their many creditors and that they were now out of administration. Heracles used to be called 1855. However, following its longstanding failure to deliver en primeur Bordeaux to its clients the name was cleansed and changed to Heracles as 1855’s reputation had become so noxious and toxic.

For the benefit of English speaking readers of our blog, here is a translation. Because of the differences between French and English It is always difficult to provide an exact translation instead this gives the broad sense of Emeric and Fabien’s message.

‘We are delighted to announce today that our lobbying of the Tribunal de Commerce (Paris) has paid off handsomely. They have accepted our largely fictitious business plan and we are now out of administration. Having friends in very high places has made this possible and we are hugely grateful to our long-term supporters. Heracles went into administration in October 2013 and, due to the extreme leniency shown by the court, this has provided us with a wonderful opportunity to again shaft our clients, waiting patiently for their en primeur Bordeaux, with an ‘equitable’ plan!

Cora – Foire aux Vins 14 -Massy

Cora (Massy branch) Foire aux Vins d’Automme 24th September – 11th October

LesE-Bordeaux Sup

Offered by Heracles in exchange for Latour, d’Yquem etc. 2012 Bordeaux Supérieur Château les Eyraux at €5.50. Production 30,000 bottles. The sail on label recalls that of Ch Beychevelle…

Over the last 12 months we have cooked up a repayment ‘plan’ that only the most stupid of our creditors could accept. We are happy to guarantee that in place of the cases of Lafite, Latour, Margaux etc. ordered by our idiotic and gullible clients we will palm them off with some bottles of 2012 Bordeaux Supérieur that could have been bought recently in some branches of Cora supermarkets for 5.50€. ‘May palm off’ is probably more accurate here as we cannot guard against any technical and logistical problems we may experience with our deliveries. Amazingly to date over 500 of our increasingly desperate clients have accepted our ludicrous offer of 2012 Bordeaux Supérieur in exchange for their top Bordeaux ordered years ago en primeur!

Now that we are out of administration we will serenely continue to shaft our clients at every opportunity using the full gamut of the various companies under the Heracles’ umbrella. We are eternally grateful that the Tribunal de Commerce has given us the green light to defraud with complete impunity anyone foolish enough to order wine through our companies. Why change a winning system!

As Emeric often says – « Never give a sucker an even break…! »‘

Jim Budd

8 Commentaires

‘Groupe 1855 rebaptisé’ = 12 new very tough labours for Héraclès!


Charles Ponzi – an inspirational figure for 1855


Fabien Hyon, managing director of Groupe 1855. A physical resemblance to Charles Ponzi?

Internet ‘wine’ company 1855 is planning to change its name on 19th September at a meeting of shareholders. The 1855 moniker will be discarded and the group will henceforth be called Héraclès.

Clearly the reputation 1855 and all the companies within the 1855 group have become so poisonous and lethal that a name change is necessary. As Emeric Sauty de Chalon says it is ‘une nécessité’ an ‘une opportunité de dissocier’ from ‘leurs tensions opérationnelles’:

Press release from Group 1855:

Groupe 1855 rebaptisé « Héraclès »

3 Septembre 2013 – Groupe 1855 rebaptisé « Héraclès » – COMMUNIQUE DE PRESSE
Groupe 1855 annonce aujourd’hui sa volonté de se rebaptiser en « Héraclès ». « Ce changement de nom est à la fois une nécessité et une opportunité » déclare Emeric Sauty de Chalon, Président.

« Une nécessité, car le groupe possède aujourd’hui quatre marques distinctes – 1855, ChateauOnline, Cave Privée et les Caves de la Transat -, chacune avec ses racines, ses perspectives et son autonomie de fonctionnement, et il n’y avait pas de justification à ce que l’une des marques soit plus mise en avant que les autres au niveau de la dénomination du groupe ».

« Ce changement est également une opportunité de dissocier la vie des marques – leurs produits, leurs clients, leurs tensions opérationnelles ponctuelles et leurs initiatives de développement – de la communication stratégique, financière et juridique d’un groupe coté en Bourse ».

« Nous avons choisi comme nom « Héraclès », car ce héros grec a vécu un grand nombre d’aventures, de difficultés et d’exploits, et que ses voyages aux allures d’épopée raisonnent parfaitement avec celle que nous vivons dans l’univers du vin depuis la création de notre groupe en septembre 1995″.

Pour acter ce changement de nom, le conseil d’administration a convoqué une assemblée générale qui se tiendra le 19 septembre 2013, à Paris.’

Assuming that the name change goes through poor Héraclès will be faced with 12 new labours – 12 new challenges in relation to ex-1855.con that will be far more difficult and testing than the original 12 he performed back in classical times:

Hercules’ classic labours:

First Labour: Nemean lion

Second Labour: Lernaean hydra

 Third Labour: Ceryneian Hind

 Fourth Labour: Erymanthian Boar

 Fifth Labour: Augean stables

 Sixth Labour: Stymphalian Birds

 Seventh Labour: Cretan Bull

 Eighth Labour: Mares of Diomedes

 Ninth Labour: Belt of Hippolyta

 Tenth Labour: Cattle of Geryon

 Eleventh Labour: Apples of the Hesperides

 Twelfth Labour: Cerberus



Héraclès armed with a big stick for dealing with fraudsters

Here are the 12 new labours of Héraclès in ascending order of difficulty:

1) Ensuring that the renamed company functioning as a legitimate business.

2) Sorting out the logistical and delivery problems – ensuring that customers receive their wine on time.

3) Making sure that the newly baptised company answers the phone.

4) Making sure that the newly baptised company answers customers’ emails.

5) Buying all the wines ordered en primeur by its customers, which were never purchased by 1855.

6) Paying the many fines and legal costs arising from a host of court cases involving 1855 and its associated companies.

7) Insisting that customers of the renamed company are told the truth and not the customary pack of lies.

8) Persuading quality French producers, who haven’t wanted to be associated with the 1855 scam, to now supply the rebaptised Héraclés group.

9) Forcing Emeric Sauty de Chalon and Fabien Hyon to issue a sincere apology for the distress and inconvenience they have knowingly caused through their fraudulent management of the 1855 Group.

10) Rebuilding the reputation of Group 1855 while detoxing and laundering the reputation of the group’s senior management notably Emeric Sauty de Chalon, founder and president, and Fabien Hyon, managing director of the 1855 group.

Task 10 resembles the cleansing of the Augean stables but, of course, clearing up the shit (merde) created by Sauty de Chalon and Hyon will make the Augean Stables task like a vicar’s tea party.

11. Persuading the French government and regulatory bodies that enough is enough and this fraudulent enterprise should be closed down for failing to supply over many years some of its clients with the wines they ordered.

12. Persuading the Repression des Fraudes to prosecute Emeric Sauty de Chalon and Fabien Hyon.

11 and 12 is easily the most difficult task but if Héraclés succeeds there will be many delighted clients around Europe as well as relieved producers in Bordeaux and other parts of France.

I understand that the Society for the Preservation of the good name of Hercules is most unhappy at this turn of events. Having no wish for Hercules to be in anyway associated with this bunch of shysters, they have contacted the CIVC (Le Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne for advice on how to protect Hercules’s reputation. The CIVC jealously guards Champagne’s reputation and has long experience of taking action to protect its good name. Indeed it is now considering taking Apple to court for daring to launch an iPhone with the colour – Champagne, apparently a recognized colour since 1915.


2 Commentaires

What has the 1855 group got that Olivier Cousin hasn’t?


Olivier Cousin in London May 2011

On October 2nd Anjou vigneron, Olivier Cousin, will be before a court in Angers facing a case of fraud and bringing the appellation contrôlée system into disrepute. His crime? Putting ‘Anjou Pur Breton’ on a label for a vin de table. See here and here. Apparently Cousin could face a maximum fine of 37,500 euros and two years in prison.


The offending label.

Contrast the threat to Cousin with the apparent carte blanche given to 1855 and their associated companies ChateauOnline and Cave Privée to fleece a number of their customers, especially those who order Bordeaux en primeur as well ignoring many court judgments against them.

Here is just the latest account from one of the hundreds of clients ripped off by the companies run by Emeric Sauty de Chalon and Fabien Hyon.

La Lettre de mon Jardin n°96 – juil 13

Bruno G. , un client Parisien nous communique:
« Pour info: je viens d’obtenir un jugement en ma faveur contre Chateau on Line qui ne m’avait pas livré mes Primeurs 2009.

Je les ai assignés directement à la juridiction de proximité du 9éme Arrdt de Paris ( leur SS), et le jour ou nous sommes passés il y avait 5 recours contre eux mais ils n’avaient pas daigné se déplacer.

Ils ont été condamnés à ce que j’avais demandé, à savoir le remboursement de la valeur actualisée des vins commandés majorée des intérêts de retard, plus les frais de justice.

J’ai fait délivrer par huissier la signification exécutoire du jugement et une saisie arrêt sur leur compte en banque qui est revenue impayée, faute de provision . Ils n’ont manifesté aucune réaction !

Je viens donc de lancer un commandement de payer par huissier et j’irai, bien entendu jusqu’à la cessation de paiement si nécessaire, d’autant plus qu’ils continuent à faire de la pub pour la campagne des Primeurs 2012. C’est une véritable « escroquerie en bande organisée », pour reprendre une expression à la mode. ?

Je viens également de les relancer, pour la livraison des Primeurs 2010 que j’avais également commandés, mais en vain. Je les assignerai de nouveau après les vacances judiciaires

Par contre je suis surpris que la Direction de la Concurrence et des Prix n’ait pas été saisie par les négociants de la place bordelaise ! ».

Si vous êtes dans son cas, il peut être intéressant de vous mettre en rapport avec cette personne victime d’agissements frauduleux…Donnez nous toute information, nous transmettrons.

Rappelons que « Chateau on line » appartient à la Sté 1855, elle aussi poursuivie par de nombreux clients non livrés, et qui a délocalisé cette année ses offres de Primeurs 2012 sur cette filiale…. Jolie ruse!

Pourquoi cette différence de traitement dans un État de droit?