Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Dotard: an educational insult

Read more

#TECH 24

Medtech: Repairing the human body

Read more

ENCORE!

Jennifer Lawrence on why she's unafraid to speak out

Read more

#THE 51%

Hola "Ellas Hoy" - The 51 Percent welcomes its sister show on FRANCE 24 Spanish

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

A stroll through the Corsican city of Calvi, jewel of the Mediterranean

Read more

REPORTERS

The torment of Christians living in Syria’s Khabur valley

Read more

FOCUS

'Generation Merkel' yearns for continuity and stability

Read more

DOWN TO EARTH

Amazon rainforest pays heavy price for Brazil's political crisis

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Presidential election re-run pushed back to October 26th

Read more

France

Police probe ex-PM Villepin over fraud allegations

Latest update : 2012-09-16

Former French prime minister Dominique de Villepin (pictured) was questioned by Paris police on Tuesday as part of an investigation into an alleged embezzlement scheme at a luxury hotel chain previously run by one of his close friends.

Former French prime minister Dominque de Villepin was brought in for questioning Tuesday by police investigating luxury hotel chain Relais et Châteaux, whose former CEO is accused of involvement in an embezzlement scheme.

Régis Bulot, who headed the company between 1987 and 2005, was taken into custody last November after prosecutors accused him of organised fraud and money laundering. The 64-year-old is suspected of having embezzled some 1.6 million euros between 2002 and 2008. He was released from prison in June this year after seven months in custody.

According to investigators, Villepin made a phone call in 2011 on behalf of Bulot concerning a civil law suit. The politician, who served as prime minister under Jacques Chirac and is known as a bitter rival of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, is described by the French press as a “close friend” of Bulot.

Bulot, who has acknowledged the embezzlement scheme but denies having orchestrated it, claims that Villepin benefited in no way from the alleged fraud. Villepin, who holidayed with his wife at a Relâis and Chateaux resort in Martinique in the summer of 2005, has denied all knowledge of the scheme.

According to a source who spoke to the AFP news agency, Villepin’s interrogation was a pre-arranged formality.

Villepin issued a brief statement on Tuesday afternoon, saying that he had told the investigators that "I am in no way implicated in this sad affair that is affecting one of my friends".

Prosecutor Brice Raymondeau-Castanet told AFP it was "probable" that a judge leading the probe would want to question Villepin at a later date.

France 24 with wires

Date created : 2012-09-11

  • FRANCE

    Former PM de Villepin bows out of presidential race

    Read more

  • FRANCE - JUSTICE

    Paris court upholds Villepin acquittal in Clearstream case

    Read more

COMMENT(S)