Bordeaux wineries were raided by some 100 investigators last week as part of an investigation into a possible wine scam by a Belgian importer. The importer, Geens Benelux, was suspected of mislabelling bottles of wine, according to press reports.

Customs inspectors, anti-fraud police and other investigators visited a number of chateaux, mostly in Bordeaux, with links to the importer but no arrests have been made. Founded in 1937, Geens Benelux, which imports and distributes wine in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, has considerable interests in wine production principally in Bordeaux.

Guillaume Berckmans, the company's director, said that police had inspected the properties but denied "any fraudulent practices." He added that the investigating authorities had not specified the nature of the alleged fraud.

However, newspaper reports in France said inspectors were investigating whether wine from the company's properties was being correctly labelled with regard to its origin. Samples were seized, employees were questioned and freight and other documents were examined. Berckmans said the investigation was doing "incredible" damage to his company.