Havas Group has responded to the arrest of its former CEO and head of Havas’ parent company the Bolloré Group, Vincent Bolloré.
Bolloré was arrested earlier this week by French police following allegations that Havas bribed Alpha Condé and Togo’s president Faure Gnassingbé with cheap advertising or communications in exchange for lucrative port licenses for the Bolloré Group.
The alleged misdeeds took place during the countries’ elections. The group owns the biggest port operator on the African continent.
Havas Group issued an official statement on Thursday morning:
“Havas Group acknowledges that an employee of one of its subsidiaries in France has been put under formal investigation on Wednesday 25 April.
“Havas Group stresses that this employee benefits from the fundamental principle of presumed innocence guaranteed by criminal procedure.
The Group will of course fully cooperate with the judicial authorities.”
Havas Group is just one of many interests that Bolloré is involved with. From rubber and palm oil plantations across Africa and Asia, to the production of plastic film for packaging and cigarette papers through to transport and distribution of coal and petroleum, the investment group has stakes in a diverse array of business activities.
Vincent Bolloré, is also the chairman and dominant shareholder of entertainment group Vivendi, which last year acquired 94.75% of Havas Group.