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US News Corruption in Togo: Bolloré pleads guilty but should not avoid the correctional

21:20  26 february  2021
21:20  26 february  2021 Source:   liberation.fr

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Vincent Bolloré en décembre 2018, à Paris. © Eric Piermont Vincent Bolloré in December 2018, in Paris.

Bolloré at the helm? Stupor and trembling in the media-financial microcosm: one of France's most powerful businessmen may be held to account in a criminal court. Judge Isabelle Prévost-Desprez, of the Paris judicial court, in fact considered this Friday "necessary" a trial for facts including corruption in Togo accused Vincent Bolloré.

Vincent Bolloré, Gilles Alix, CEO of the Bolloré group and Jean-Philippe Dorent, international director of the Havas agency, a subsidiary of Bolloré, had nevertheless accepted a sort of French plea in this case. Either an appearance on prior admission of guilt (CRPC) and the payment of a fine of 375,000 euros.

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But during the hearing, the judge refused to approve this CRPC, considering that the sentences were “unsuitable in view of the seriousness of the alleged facts” and considering that it was “necessary that they be judged » by a criminal court. The facts have "seriously undermined economic public order" and "the sovereignty of Togo" , ruled the judge. It is now up to an investigating judge to decide whether or not to order a trial for the trio Bolloré, Alix and Dorente.

A fine of 12 million euros

On the other hand, the judge validated the judicial agreement of public interest (CJIP) targeting the Bolloré group, which provides for a fine of 12 million euros. The company is committed to paying this fine "to the public treasury within ten days" , the National Financial Prosecutor's Office said in a statement. To this fine is added the provisioning of 4 million euros to cover the cost of a program to comply with the rules of the French anti-corruption agency (AFA), which will carry out monitoring for two years, under the terms of the CJIP. If the conditions are met, the end of the proceedings will be final for the group. But not for his boss and his two acolytes.

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This eleven-year-old dossier has been sticking to the soles of the boss of Canal plus C8 and CNews since 2009. It concerns the extension and extension of the concession of the port of Lomé, in Togo, a strategic gateway to a continent , Africa, at the origin of the fortune of the Breton magnate, estimated at 5.7 billion euros. At the end of her investigation, Judge Aude Buresi, long supported in this case by Serge Tournaire, considered that a corruption pact was sealed between the management of the Bolloré group and the president of Togo before his re-election in March 2010.

Prescription

Gold during the hearing this Friday, the holding company and Bolloré, Alix and Dorente acknowledged having used the political advisory activities of the Havas subsidiary in order to obtain the management of the ports of Lomé, in Togo, and of Conakry, in Guinea, via another of its subsidiaries, Bolloré Africa Logistics, formerly called SDV.

SDV had obtained the management of the port of Conakry a few months after the election to the presidency of Guinea of ​​Alpha Condé, at the end of 2010, and had won the concession in Lomé shortly before the re-election, in 2010 in Togo, of Faure Gnassingbé. , who were then both advised by Havas.

A judicial investigation was opened at the end of 2013 for “bribery of a foreign public official, breach of trust and complicity in breach of trust” committed between 2009 and 2011. The indictment of the protagonists for some of the offenses concerning the Guinea had been canceled by the Paris Court of Appeal in June 2019, due to limitation.

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This is interesting!