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French police grill tycoon Bollore over Africa graft allegations

French police grill tycoon Bollore over Africa graft allegations

It will centre on contracts awarded to his Bollore Group for the operation of container terminals in Lome, Togo, and Conakry, Guinea, according to a person familiar with the matter cited by the news wire. Police now have up to 48 hours to investigate Bollore and decide whether he will stand trial.

Bollore shares fell as much as 8 percent in Paris trading.

Denying any wrongdoing in a statement on Tuesday, the Bollore Group claimed it had obtained the Togo concession in 2001, before it took over Havas, and that it secured the Guinea contract before Conde's election, following the "failure" of its rival. Bollore's offices in Puteaux, France, were searched two years ago as part of the investigation, Le Monde reported at the time.

Bollore's company is worth $14.7bn, while his own net worth has been put at $6.6bn.

Bollore's legal woes add another challenge to his son Yannick, who the Vivendi board anointed as chairman after Bollore stepped down last week and who still heads Havas.




Bollore said in a statement that the investigation related to the billing of its communication servicesin both countries between 2009 and 2010.

The latest twist in the investigation in Groupe Bollore's role in the election campaigns comes after British consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica came under fire its role in Britain's Brexit referendum campaign and other national votes, including in East Africa.

Its director general, Gilles Alix, and the manager of the global division of its communications subsidiary Havas, Jean-Philippe Dorent, were also taken into custody, a judicial source added.

The ports are among several operated by Bollore's African logistics arm, which also has several African rail concessions.

After their victories, the two presidents, who are still in power, allegedly handed port concessions to Mr Bolloré's group. The Bollore Group has vast holdings from transport to media and the oil business, and 80,000 employees worldwide.


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