The entrepreneur Vincent Bollore, one of the great fortunes of France, was arrested on Tuesday outside Paris to be questioned about the suspicions of corruption that planned on each port concessions in Togo and Guinea in 2010 to the group that bears his name.
According to the newspaper Le Monde , which revealed the news of the arrest of the magnate who also controls Vivendi and Telecom Italia, the judicial investigation into possible “corruption of foreign public agents” focuses on whether the Bolloré group made use of the Havas communication agency of which he also owns to facilitate the arrival to power of African leaders, helping them in tasks of advice and communication.
In return, the group would have obtained the lucrative port concessions. In addition to Vincent Bolloré, the general director of the group, Gilles Alix, and the head of the international division of Havas, Jean-Philippe Dorent, were summoned to the offices of the judicial police of Nanterre, outside of Paris. The Challenges magazine. He assured that a man close to Dorent was also being questioned, the Spaniard Francis Perez, leader of the Pefaco group, based in Barcelona and developing casinos and hotels in Africa.
The Bolloré group denied in a statement to be involved in any illegal action and was confident that the decision making of its managers help to demonstrate the “total transparency” of the company’s performance “in full compliance with laws and regulations” .
Despite the denial, Bollore shares fell by 9%, although the decline was moderated at the close of the Paris Stock Exchange, reports Efe.
Suspicions focus on the group role in the electoral campaigns of Alpha Condé in Guinea and Faure Gnassingbé in Togo, both advised by Havas and who, shortly after their accession to power, made important port concessions to Bolloré.
“Trying to link the allocation of port concessions to communication services translates into a great lack of understanding of this economic sector and of economic activity in general,” the company said in a statement.
When in 2016 the newspaper Le Monde asked about the concession to Bolloré of the port of Conakry, for which Condé summarily rescinded the contract that had another French shipping company, Necotrans, the Guinean president replied that Bolloré “fulfilled all the conditions of the tender “Also, he stressed, he said he was a friend. ” Privilege to friends. And what? “He insisted.
Vincent Bolloré, a close friend of former President Nicolas Sarkozy, heads the family group in 1980. Since then, he diversified his activities into a global giant of construction, logistics, transport and communication. Last week, the businessman was surprised to announce that he was leaving the presidency of the surveillance council of the Vivendi communication group which he had held since 2014 in the hands of his son Yannick, a week after he also left the command of the television subsidiary Canal.
According to Efe, this decision was interpreted by its willingness to focus on the battle to face the onslaught of the Elliot fund in Telecom Italia where Vivendi is the main shareholder with 23.8% of the capital and the Berlusconi family in Mediaset.