Less than a week after the announcement that his son Yannick will soon lead his media Empire vivendi and its marketing network of Havas, the French billionaire Vincent Bollore reportedly was detained by police in connection with allegations that he used the Agency network to bribe African officials almost ten years ago.
According to a story first reported by the French newspaper “Le Monde” this morning, Bollore currently under custody by the French authorities for questioning due to the fact that his company, Group Bollore actively contributed to corruption in Togo and Guinea in 2009 and 2010.
The report States that the group of Bollore was, until last summer, the single largest shareholder in Havas —allegedly helped officials in these countries in exchange for contracts that directly benefit Bollore SA, the largest operator of shipping ports in Africa.
In response, a Group of Bollore confirmed that he is under investigation, stating that the statement was made by an unnamed former employee, who was recently sentenced to nearly four years in prison “for the misappropriation of assets.”
“Its former subsidiary, SDV Africa, do not participate in any illegal actions and panel Bollore confirms that these services are conducted in full transparency”, – is told in the message referring to these services. According to a later report from Bloomberg, Hawass allegedly provided free or at greatly reduced prices “Council communications” politicians to run for re-election almost ten years ago.
A statement from the band denies these claims.
“For more than 50 years, Havas has brought their expertise in the field of communication in political campaigns around the world in full accordance with the law and the rules and standards of transparency,” said the operator Group is Bollore. “Hearing his leaders should provide the judiciary with a useful clarification of these issues, which were assessed by an independent expert. This experience led to the conclusion that these transactions complied with all laws and regulations”.
With regard to the specific statements made in the report, the statement says that “Bollore Group won the concession to Slovenia, in 2001, long before they began to invest in Havas. In Guinea, the Group Bollore won the concession in 2011 after the failure of the winner (Group Bollore came in second place in the bidding process), which was voted before the presidential election.”
“The attempt to associate the attribution of the port concession of telecommunications services to transfer big misunderstanding of this sector and overall economic activity,” it read.
Representatives of Havas declined to comment on the news. Representatives of Vivendi also referred to the statement by the Group Bollore, telling Adweek that this is not a matter of their business.
No charges have been filed against Bollore at this time.
Last week’s reporting, the senior Bollore said that his son will soon take the post of Chairman of vivendi, which owns such brands as universal music channel and daily motion. Yannick officially became global Director of the Havas creative group in the summer of 2017 with the departure of Andrew Bennett, who later went on Bloomberg.