French court arrests billionaire Dassault on corruption charges
PARIS, February 19 (RAPSI) – A court in Nanterre, France, on Wednesday detained industrialist and senator Serge Dassault for allegedly buying votes in Corbeil-Essonnes, where he was formerly mayor, according to local media reports.
Dassault, 88, a member of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) political party and CEO of Dassault Group, is suspected of vote-buying, corruption, and money laundering.
A week ago, the French Senate voted to lift Dassault’s immunity at his request. He said he had decided to waive his immunity to show that his actions during the 2008, 2009 and 2010 elections at Corbeil-Essonnes were “beyond reproach.”
The case against him was opened in March 2013, but the police were unable to investigate it due to his parliamentary immunity.
His father, Marcel, the founder of Dassault, was sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp after refusing to put his aeronautical engineering talents at the disposal of the Nazis. Serge Dassault took the helm of Dassault Industries in 1987. He is an influential businessman and politician.
Dassault Group manufactures military (Mirage and Rafale) and civilian (Falcon) planes and military simulators, has a winery and an art auction house, and owns a controlling stake at Socpresse, which includes Le Figaro, France’s leading right-wing newspaper, and Express.
According to Forbes magazine, Dassault is the 4th richest man in France and the 69th richest in the world with a fortune estimated at EUR 13 billion ($18 billion).