Vincent Bollore: French tycoon questioned over alleged Africa corruption

Vincent Bollore Africa Togo Guinea

Vincent Bollore: French tycoon questioned over alleged Africa corruption

He said the group was awarded Guinea's Conakry container port concession in March 2011 after GETMA, a private logistics company set up in Guinea in 1979, which initially won the contract, failed to meet its contractual commitments.

"The Bollore group formally denies that its subsidiary at the time SDV Afrique is guilty of any irregularities", said a statement later sent to AFP.

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

Bollore Group is suspected of using its communications arm, Havas, to provide cut-rate services to African leaders, who then ensured that another subsidiary would win shipping terminal contracts. "The services relating to this invoicing were carried out in full transparency".

The investigation focuses on suspicions around port deals in 2009 and 2010 in Lome, the capital of the West African nation of Togo, and Conakry in Guinea.

Vincent Bollore, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of media group Vivendi, attends the company's shareholders meeting in Paris, France, April 19, 2018. He denied any wrongdoing by Bollore.

Havas, the advertising agency that is part of Mr Bolloré's empire, allegedly ran the 2010 presidential election campaigns of Alpha Condé in Guinea and Faure Gnassingbe in Togo at discounted prices.

And the company's transport and logistics unit "has been investing in Africa and in port concessions long before Bollore Group took control of Havas".

Bollore Group welcomes "this opportunity to fully cooperate with the judicial authorities to restore the truth about those facts".

Bollore-related companies have faced other legal cases in the past.

In 2016, Bollore's Africa business was thrust into the spotlight in a French TV documentary highlighting the miserable conditions of underage workers at a subcontractor of a Cameroonian palm oil company, in which the Bollore Group has a stake.

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