PARIS (Reuters) – The Paris Court of Appeal confirmed on Tuesday the indictment of Vincent Bolloré as part of an investigation into suspicions of corruption in obtaining the management of a container terminal in the port of Lomé, Togo, but deleted documents from the file, according to a judicial source.
The investigating chamber of the Court of Appeal decided, in accordance with the requisitions of the public prosecutor’s office, to cancel certain documents in the proceedings, to confirm the rejection of the request for placement under the status of assisted witness and to reject the request for transmission of a priority question of constitutionality, the source said.
The public prosecutor’s office requested the withdrawal of documents relating to an agreement negotiated with the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF), but then rejected by the Paris court, to “plead guilty”, or appearance on prior recognition of guilt (CRPC). As part of this agreement, Vincent Bolloré acknowledged the facts and accepted the payment of a fine. He therefore asked the Court of Appeal to cancel the entire investigation because of the presence of this incriminating agreement.
Vincent Bolloré was indicted in 2018 in connection with the Bolloré group obtaining the management of a container terminal in Togo, but also the takeover of the concession for the container terminal at the port of Conakry, in Guinea. The investigative chamber of the Paris Court of Appeal had however recognized in 2019 the prescription of the facts in this second part.
Justice suspects Bolloré leaders of having used the communication group Havas, then a subsidiary of the group, to facilitate the coming to power of African leaders in order to obtain port concessions in return.
The investigation, which follows a complaint filed by a former employee of the group, relates to facts dating back to 2009 and 2010.
The Bolloré group finalized in December the sale to the Swiss group MSC of Bolloré Africa Logistics, which combines its transport and logistics activities in Africa, for 5.7 billion euros.
(Written by Kate Entringer, edited by Blandine Hénault)
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