French billionaire Bollore charged in Africa corruption case

FILE - In this June 22, 2016 file photo, then Vivendi Chairman Vincent Bollore attends a hearing at the French Senate, in Paris. French billionaire Vincent Bollore has been detained for questioning in an investigation into alleged corruption in lucrative port deals in Africa. French newspaper Le Monde says the investigation focuses on suspicions around port deals in 2010 in Lome, the capital of the West African nation of Togo, and Conakry in Guinea. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu, File)

PARIS (AP) — French businessman Vincent Bollore has been given preliminary charges in an investigation into alleged corruption surrounding lucrative port deals in Africa.

It was a stunning move against one of France’s most powerful tycoons, whose Bollore Group has vast holdings from transport and media to the oil sector.

Bollore said in a statement Wednesday that he was released pending further investigation. The statement said he will now “answer these unfounded accusations.”

The Bollore Group’s shares plunged after he was detained for questioning Tuesday.

The investigation focuses on suspicions around port deals in 2009 and 2010 in the West African nations of Togo and Guinea. Bollore Group is suspected of using communications arm Havas to provide cut-rate services to African leaders, who ensured that another subsidiary would win shipping terminal contracts.

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