Serge Dassault detained for questioning over alleged vote-buying
French billionaire and senator Serge Dassault has been detained for questioning over alleged vote-buying in a Paris suburb.
Police are questioning the industrialist about his activities in Corbeil-Essonnes, where he was mayor between 1995 and 2009.
The parliamentary immunity of Serge Dassault, 88, was lifted on February 12 at his own request, the French daily Le Monde reports.
Dassault Aviation is a major producer of jets, including the Rafale fighter.
Serge Dassault, a senator in the centre-right UMP party, requested the lifting of his parliamentary immunity in order to defend himself against the vote-buying allegations and prove that he had acted correctly, Le Monde reports.
He is ranked as France’s fourth-richest man, with an estimated fortune of 13 billion euros ($18 billion).
The Gaullist UMP was the political launchpad for former presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac.
An ally of Serge Dassault, who succeeded him as mayor – Jean-Pierre Bechter – was charged last month.
Two other aides – Cristela de Oliveira and Younes Bounouara – were also charged.
Cristela de Oliveira is suspected of allocating council flats to families who agreed to vote for Serge Dassault or Jean-Pierre Bechter.
The 2008 election result was annulled by the Council of State – a top legal advisory body. It found evidence of vote-buying, and investigators are now considering whether to prosecute Serge Dassault, the AFP news agency reports.
Magistrates are examining suspicious transfers of millions of euros between France and Lebanon in connection with the affair, Le Monde reports.
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