One of the students of the SHG Lyon school, Anaïs, filed a complaint last March for fraud and breach of trust against the founder and principal of this school. One hundred students from SHG Lyon paid 22,100 euros each for two years of education, or just over 11,000 euros per year of training, only to end up not receiving their diploma. And this because of the administrative situation of the school, which was placed in forced liquidation in January 2022. The Nantes police station, where Anaïs lodged a complaint, is still investigating, according to the Nantes public prosecutor’s office, which franceinfo has contacted.
Founded five years ago by a former manager of the famous Vatel school in Switzerland, specializing in the same type of training, this school initially functions normally, according to Anaïs’ account. The school has buildings in Lyon with classrooms and “in the beginning when we were face to face we had a teacher for every subject“, Anaïs recalls. Everything changes during the second incarceration, at the end of October 2020.
Still, according to the account of this 24-year-old student, the courses switch remotely via the Internet. Nothing surprising so far, but doubt arises when they see that one person now teaches all subjects: the director of the school himself. Only service providers, usually located abroad, offer foreign language learning. Asked about this, the school principal – who wishes to remain anonymous – answers : “there is no law that prohibits giving courses, I have 20 years of experience in the hotel industry. The students are happy with the lessons I gave them“.
From there, the students, still far from each other, start exchanging with each other on social networks, because everyone is wondering. Between them they mainly evoke a waste of time. “It was really superficial“calls Anaïs from her side.
“We always did the same thing, we really didn’t learn anything to be a manager, we were really taken for babies a lot”Anaïs, student at SHG Lyon
The student tells what her classes looked like during the two years MBA (equivalent to the Master). “It was a really special, strange organization. All classes were repetitive. We discussed things I had learned during my bachelor’s degree. There was no added value“. In addition, still according to the students’ account, the students are mixed by level, with no specific education, depending on whether they are in a bachelor class (equivalent to the license) or in an MBA (equivalent to the master). However, the director in turn ensures that the courses “are of very good quality, the students do internship in 5 star luxury hotels, we are at the highest level compared to other schools. Look for a school that offers six months of tuition and six months of internship, you won’t find one.”
For their part, through investigation of the school, the students find out in February that SHG Lyon has been placed in forced liquidation since January 12, 2022, because the school is bankrupt. Which means, in the words of the judicial liquidator appointed by the commercial court of Lyon, that “SHG Lyon is not authorized to continue its activities“. The students continue their exchange and decide to call the school principal to account. The conversation was recorded by the students, we were able to listen to it. In the recording, the director mentions unimportant administrative problems that will be solved quickly. A story that the leader of the company still retains today. He also assures that it was he who convened this meeting to warn them of the administrative difficulties SHG Lyon is experiencing. The director also indicates that he has appealed and is preparing his file, which will be processed on December 1.
“If we had really been assholes, we would have closed the school in Lyon”Director of SHG Lyon
But last spring, students who already feel ripped off by SHG Lyon are now asking questions about their internship and their degrees. After being asked by some of them, the bailiff warns them in a letter dated April 13: “I remind you that the absence of continued activity since January 12, 2022 prohibits the signing of internship contracts and the issue of diplomas“. And above all, the judicial liquidator insists: “to my knowledge (…) [le directeur] had continued (and still continued) to teach. It also appears that he is trying to recruit students for the next academic year.“.
For example, the director of SHG Lyon is suspected of preparing for the start of the school year at the expense of the students, while his company in Lyon can no longer operate. assures him that after the placement in judicial liquidation “students transferred to other SHG schools“ and thereby be able to continue their education and do an internship. This entrepreneur also runs other SHG schools in several cities in France, including Paris and Nice, as well as in Europe: Barcelona and Lisbon. The Geneva one in Switzerland was put into forced liquidation in December 2020.
Until the end of the school year, the director of SHG Lyon is then less and less accessible, according to students and foreign language teachers, while the latter, unpaid, demand payment of their bills from him. Some have to wait almost six months before they sometimes receive sums of up to 2,000 euros. “Students also took the time to pay us, it’s the life of every company“, the school principal replies.
In the end, only one complaint was lodged on March 10, that of Anaïs. According to the Nantes prosecutor’s office, she has since been treated by the Nantes police station, the headmaster assures that he has not yet been heard by the police. If the other students, some of whom were very motivated to act in the beginning, have not finally followed Anaïs until now, it is because, according to lawyer Hélène Rejou-Méchain “even though they are wronged, they are afraid of publicity and the impact it could have on their education“. That is why she hopes that the indictment and the police investigationwill allow other students to come out of the silence to expose these facts“. For its part, Anaïs, the student at the origin of the complaint, stopped her management internship and now works with a permanent contract as a receptionist in a Paris hotel. Like others, she had to take out a $30,000 student loan to pay her school fees. “I was the one who chose school and I feel bad now that my parents are helping me pay him back for a degree I can’t get. This is really the worst news we can have“she judges today.