French tycoon Bollore detained over alleged Africa corruption

Police arrested Vincent Bollore, (pictured), one of France’s most powerful businessmen, in the Paris suburb of Nanterre on Tuesday as part of an investigation into how his Bollore Group attained rights to operate ports in West Africa. French newspaper Le Monde said the investigation focused on port deals in the Togolese capital, Lome, and Conakry in Guinea. The group is alleged to have used its communication and marketing subsidiary Havas to support election campaigns of Guinean President Alpha Conde and Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe. In exchange, the group’s subsidiary Bollore Africa Logistics is alleged to have won contracts to operate shipping terminals after the leaders were elected. The group, which has interests in construction, as well as logistics and media, denied any wrongdoing. A Guinean government spokesman denied the allegations. The news of Bollore’s arrest caused group stocks to fall by more than 4% in mid-morning Paris trading.