Lawyer says Bollore being investigated over suspected corruption of officials

UPDATE 3-French tycoon Bollore questioned by police over Africa operations

French billionaire detained in Africa 'corruption' probe

In a statement, Bollore Group said its executives "welcome this opportunity to fully cooperate with the judicial authorities to restore the truth".

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

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

Bollore Group said the logistics subsidiary, SVC Africa, "did not engage in any illegal actions" and that Havas provided its services "in full transparency".

Investigating judges reportedly suspect that certain executives used advertising company Havas to help elect African officials by providing communications advice almost 10 years ago at a discount price, the source said.

According to the French newspaper Le Monde, the investigation focuses on port deals made in 2010 in Lome, the capital of the West African nation of Togo, and Conakry in Guinea. He denied any wrongdoing by Bollore.

Investigators are said to be looking at communications work that was done by Dorent on behalf of the leaders of both Guinea and Togo.

In 2017, Vivendi bought out communications company Havas - chaired by the younger Bollore - from the Bollore Group.

Vincent Bollore, a close friend of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, revived the group's flagging fortunes in the early 1980s, turning it into a global construction, media and transport giant, mostly through acquisitions.

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

A year later, a Cameroonian rail operator owned by the Bollore Group was accused of negligence after 79 people were killed when a packed train derailed.

French judicial police are carrying out an investigation into possible bribes of public officials in two African countries, Bloomberg reported.

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