Legal sources have told AFP that billionaire French tycoon Vincent Bollore was detained on Tuesday as part of a corruption investigation into his group’s activities in West Africa where it operates several ports.
The 66-year-old is the CEO of the Bollore Group, he was taken into custody in the Paris suburb of Nanterre for questioning, the sources speaking on anonymity said they were asked on how the group obtained contracts to run Lome port in Togo and Conakry port in Guinea.
When news broke last week Thursday that the business mogul was being questioned in the latest probe into French business dealings in former colonies in Africa caused Bollore group stocks to tumble over 8% in Paris.
The company is 195-year-old, has interests in construction, logistics, media, advertising and shipping. They issued a statement denying “any illegal actions” in its African operations.
The judicial sourced added that its director general, Gilles Alix, and a senior executive from its communications subsidiary Havas, Jean-Philippe Dorent, were also taken into custody.
Investigators are looking into allegations that the group corrupted officials to get the Lome and Conakry port concessions in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
France’s financial crimes unit are also probing possible links between the tenders and communications work done by Havas for Guinean President Alpha Conde and Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe.
Bollore Group has been insight of police authorities and in 2016, they Bsearched their headquarters in the Paris suburb of Puteaux.
Guinea’s first freely elected president Conde, a few months later he summarily terminated the contract of Conakry’s port operator a subsidiary of French shipping company NCT Necotrans and gave it to rival Bollore.
In 2013 a French court ordered the Bollore Group to pay Necotrans 2.4 million in compensation, however afterwards Bollore took over the company.
Photo Credit- France 24