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Chopard co-owner accused of being the ‘Ghislaine Maxwell’ of the jewelry world

Chopard’s co-owner has been accused of being the ‘Ghislaine Maxwell‘ of the jewelry world after she allegedly ‘pimped out’ herself by being overtly sexual to rich male clients and suggested a female employee do the same, a federal sexual harassment complaint claims. 

Desiree Gallas, a former public relations representative for Chopard, has alleged that her boss Caroline Scheufele would offer herself up sexually to wealthy men and implied she should do the same in order to sell high-end jewelry pieces. 

The 38-year-old leveled her accusations against Chopard in a Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint that was first filed in October last year.  

Gallus, who says she worked at the company for five years until she was fired in 2019, has accused her boss and Chopard of supporting a ‘sex for dollars’ culture and claimed her firing was retaliatory.

It is not clear from the complaint if Scheufele or Gallus ever had sex with any of their clients. 

In the complaint, Gallas compared her former boss to Ghislaine Maxwell – the ex-girlfriend and alleged madam of pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell is currently behind bars awaiting trial on charges of procuring young girls for Epstein.

Desiree Gallas at the 2019 Cannes Gala

Desiree Gallas, a former public relations representative for Chopard, has alleged that her boss Caroline Scheufele would offer herself up sexually to wealthy men and implied she should do the same in order to sell high-end jewelry pieces 

Gallas claims in the complaint that Scheufele would often engage sexually with wealthy clients to close sales and ‘pushed and encouraged me to do the same’.  

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‘Caroline’s directive was reminiscent of Ghislaine Maxwell’s notorious ‘pimping’ of women on behalf of Jeffrey Epstein and is indisputably unlawful,’ the complaint says. 

The claims against Scheufele were raised in the EEOC complaint submitted in October before a supplement with additional evidence was submitted in January. 

In response to the complaint, Chopard defended Scheufele and described the former employee’s ‘sensationalist claims’ as an attempt to get a payout.     

In the complaint, Gallas claims that her then-boss told her on one occasion that she should ‘do anything you need to do to close that sale’ after a male client tried to kiss her during a business dinner at Cipriani’s Downtown restaurant New York in November 2017. 

During that alleged incident, Gallas claims that same wealthy client had groped and kissed Scheufele before making the advance on her.  

‘To my extreme dismay, a male client was openly grabbing, folding and kissing Caroline… I was literally horrified when he then attempted to kiss me. I did not feel safe,’ Gallas said in the complaint. 

Gallas claims that when she raised her concerns with Scheufele, she was told: ‘You do anything you need to do to close that sale.’  

Gallus, who says she worked at the company for five years until she was fired in 2019, has accused her boss and Chopard of supporting a 'sex for dollars' culture and claimed her firing was retaliatory. It is not clear from the complaint if Scheufele or Gallus ever had sex with any of their clients

Gallus, who says she worked at the company for five years until she was fired in 2019, has accused her boss and Chopard of supporting a ‘sex for dollars’ culture and claimed her firing was retaliatory. It is not clear from the complaint if Scheufele or Gallus ever had sex with any of their clients 

In a different alleged incident at the Diamond Ball gala New York in September 2017, Gallas claims a client stroked her cleavage when looking at a necklace she was wearing. 

According to the complaint, Gallas complained about the incident to Scheufele saying: ‘I do not come with the necklace.’  

Gallas claims Scheufele then responded to her: ‘How much is the necklace? You just might.’  

In the complaint, Gallas also claims she and Scheufele attended the 2018 Cannes Film Festival in 2018, where Scheufele spent time with since-convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein.

Gallas claims she was ‘revolted’ by the media mogul who at the time had been accused of rape and not convicted of it.

‘I was literally revolted by Weinstein and feared being ‘pimped’ by Scheufele; as such I made every effort to avoid him,’ the complaint says.  

Gallas says in the complaint that she became more vocal about her workplace concerns at the beginning of 2017.

She said Chopard responded by giving her a ‘warning letter’ in April 2018 that she claims was later withdrawn after she refuted the allegations about her conduct.

She received another warning letter in April 2019. Gallas says she responded via email to the letter the following month to what claims were ‘false accusations’ about her conduct.

Gallas claims that despite receiving these letters, the company still paid her bonuses for her performance.

The complaint alleges that Chopard only started investigating Gallas’ allegations of sexual harassment after she sought legal counsel.

She said she filed a separate lawsuit in August 2019 in New York alleging national origin discrimination and prima facie tort. The latter was recently dismissed.  

Gallas claims she was fired nine days after filing that lawsuit.

She said in the complaint that the sexual harassment and ‘ongoing retaliation against me’ has ‘devastated my life’.  

The former employee is seeking back pay, punitive damages and other costs.   

Chopard did not immediately return DailyMail.com’s request for comment about the allegations and complaint. 

In a statement to the New York Post, a spokesperson defended Scheufele and described Gallas as a disgruntled employee.

‘As the third generation to lead Chopard, Ms Scheufele is an open, demanding and respected industry leader known for her professionalism and business acumen. Ms Gallas was terminated for cause a year ago,’ the statement said. 

‘Chopard believes that her sensationalist claims are nothing more than a desperate tactic to seek a financial windfall and to tarnish the image of the company.’ 

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