Vincent BolloreVincent Bollore

Vincent Bollore, the 67-year-old French billionaire who unexpectedly stepped down from Vivendi's board at its April 19 general meeting was put into police custody outside Paris as part of an investigation into bribing public officials in Africa, according Le Monde.

The Bollore Group in 2017 sold its 60 percent stake in ad/PR conglom Havas Group to Vivendi for $2.5B in 2017.

Yannick Bollore, 37-year-old son of Vincent, serves as chairman/CEO of Havas.

He replaced his father as Vivendi's chairman. Bollore Group owns a 20 percent stake in Vivendi.

The Bollore Group, according to its statement released today, "formally denies that its subsidiary company SDV Africa has committed irregularities. The services relating to this invoicing were carried out in full transparency.”

It said the investigation relates to invoices for communications services in Guinea and Togo during 2009 and 2010.

The statement emphasizes that Havas for more than 50 years, "has brought its expertise in communications to political campaigns around the world in full compliance with the law and regulation and transparency standards."

Bollore Group welcomes "this opportunity to fully cooperate with the judicial authorities to restore the truth about those facts."