French tycoon Bollore detained in corruption probe over West Africa port deals

French tycoon Bollore detained in corruption probe over West Africa port deals

Groupe Bollore confirmed in a statement its African business interests were under investigation and said the probe related to the billing for work carried out in Guinea and Togo between 2009 and 2010 by its communications business Havas Worldwide.

Months after he became Guinea's first freely elected president, Conde summarily terminated the contract of Conakry's port operator - a subsidiary of French shipping company NCT Necotrans - and gave it to rival Bollore.

France's Bollore group denied any wrongdoing on Tuesday after its boss, billionaire tycoon Vincent Bollore, was detained by police over an enquiry into corruption allegations in Africa.

The Bollore Group, according to its statement released today, "formally denies that its subsidiary company SDV Africa has committed irregularities".

As Sonia Legg reports, shares in his holding company Groupe Bolloré fell around 6 percent on the news of the police interrogation.

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

Weekly business magazine Challenges reported two weeks ago that Bollore had been summoned by judges investigating whether Havas was involved in influencing elections in West Africa.

As for the proffered communications services, "Bollore Group reaffirms that these communication services were conducted in full transparency", and "these transactions fully complied with all laws and regulations".

A senior source in the Conde's office, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak, said Tuesday: "we are not concerned by these allegations, which make no sense".

The Bollore Group in 2017 sold its 60 percent stake in ad/PR conglom Havas Group to Vivendi for $2.5B in 2017.

The 67-year-old CEO of the Bollore Group, abruptly stepped down as the chairman of media giant Vivendi last week and his son Yannick, 38, was appointed to take over from him as chairman.

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