Vincent Bolloré indicted for suspicions of corruption

The business man Vincent Bolloré has been indicted Wednesday after almost two days of police custody, in the context of an investigation on suspicion of bribery to obtain concessions in Africa.

The CEO of the group that bears his name has been indicted for bribery of a foreign public official, aiding and abetting breach of trust and complicity in false, but has not been placed under judicial control, adds it.

Gilles Alix, ceo of Bolloré group, referred to as him before the judges of the financial department of the court of Paris in charge of the dossier, has also been indicted for the same charges, also without judicial review. Jean-Philippe Brown, head of the international division of Havas Paris, for its part, has been indicted for abuse of trust and forgery and use of forgery, but placed under status of witness assisted to bribery of foreign public official.

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A fourth man, Francis Pérez, a leader of the company Pefaco based in Spain, has seen its custody to exercise Wednesday in the early afternoon without any charge being brought against him, said his lawyer. The billionaire breton and the other three managers were interviewed since Tuesday morning in Nanterre (Hauts-de-Seine) by the police of the central Office for the fight against corruption and violations of financial and tax (OCLCIFF).

The justice suspects the officers of Bolloré have used the communications group Havas, then a subsidiary of the group, to facilitate the accession to power of african leaders and get in return to the port concessions. The judges are interested in particular to the conditions of resumption by the Bolloré group and the concession of the port of Conakry, Guinea, and the management of a container terminal of the port of Lomé, in Togo.

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In a press release, Bolloré group has denied on Tuesday any irregularity. A position reiterated Wednesday after the indictment of Vincent Bolloré, in a separate release.

“For a case dating back to almost 10 years on the supposed links between electoral campaigns conducted by Euro RSCG in Togo and Guinea, for a few hundreds of thousands of euros, and port concessions launched and obtained in these countries for hundreds of millions of euros, yet nine years before the elections in Togo and a year before the election in Guinea, Mr. Vincent Bolloré has been accused by the judge (Serge)Tournaire”, we read in this short text.

“Mr. Vincent Bolloré, who remains presumed innocent, will finally have access to this folder which he had never heard about and respond to these unfounded accusations,” adds the group in this press release. A spokesman for the guinean government, for its part, assured on Tuesday that the concession granted to the Bolloré group for the port of Conakry was strictly in accordance with the law. The survey, which is based on a complaint filed by a former employee of the group, relates to facts which date back to 2009 and 2010.

A search was conducted in April 2016 at the headquarters of the Bolloré group in Puteaux (Hauts-de-Seine), in the framework of this investigation. Searches have also been conducted in 2014 and 2015 at Havas, since acquired by Vivendi. The group controlled by the Bolloré family plays a leading role in Africa where it is present in 46 countries, operates 16 container terminals as well as three concessions rail and employs 25,000 people.

Less publicized than other activities of the empire Bolloré such as the media, and its 20% in Vivendi, or the electric batteries, the division transport and logistics generated a turnover of eur 2.4 billion on the african continent last year.

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