World Bulletin / News Desk
French former Prime Minister and one-time presidential hopeful Dominique de Villepin was taken into police custody on Tuesday for questioning by magistrates investigating a suspected financial scam involving a luxury hotel network.
Villepin, who served under former President Jacques Chirac, as his chief-of-staff, foreign minister and ultimately prime minister from 2005 and 2007, was questioned about his links with a man suspected of financial fraud, a police spokesman said.
The 58-year-old denied any wrongdoing when the fraud affair surfaced last December.
Magistrates are investigating whether a friend and political backer of Villepin siphoned off large sums of money when he was in charge of an association of luxury hotels called Relais & Chateaux.
Villepin was dragged into the probe after police phone taps exposed links between him and the man at the centre of the probe, Regis Bulot, president of the Relais & Chateaux network until 2006 and a member of a Villepin support club.
The affair surfaced when Villepin was on the verge of entering the May presidential election race, a move he ultimately abandoned. When he was linked to the case in December he told the Le Monde daily newspaper: "It's unbearable that I am being implicated in a matter I have nothing to do with."
Le Monde said at the time it had access to phone tap records that raised police suspicion about possible attempts by Villepin to influence judicial inquiries into Bulot.
Villepin, a prolific writer who has a legal firm of his own, has gone from one judicial imbroglio to another since his time as prime minister ended and his presidential ambitions started to take shape.
A year ago, an appeals court cleared him of charges he took part in a smear campaign against arch-foe Nicolas Sarkozy, who replaced Chirac as president and was unseated himself last May by Socialist Francois Hollande.
US president's phone call to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan day after terror assault
Candidates to succeed David Cameron must announce by Thursday, Labour leadership challenge expected Wednesday
Fallujah was recaptured by the Iraqi army earlier this week after a more than month-long offensive against Daesh militants
"The notion that Donald Trump could benefit from the same forces that gave the 'Leave' proponents a majority in Britain should sound an alarm for the Democratic Party in the United States," Sanders wrote.
French President François Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday confirmed they were in “full agreement on how to handle the situation” created by Britain’s vote to quit the EU.
Telol al-Baj, near Mosul has been retaken by security forces
The project sets out to provide for some 30M people in the region who go hungry, says African Union official
The Sheraton hotel is now open for business in the capital city of Havana
“Now of course I am sad about that, but frankly I’m more concerned about Britain getting its relationship right with Europe.”
Refugee crisis has led to formation of right-wing terrorist groups, security service warns
Gibraltar is currently in talks with Scotland to discuss the possibility of remaining part of the EU
- Rifaat al-Assad, Syria's vice president in the 1980s, has also been accused of embezzlement
Emergency session at European Parliament prompts angry exchanges between EU leaders and eurosceptics over the Brexit
Senate set to vote on eform package on Tuesday 6 pm, before National Assembly takes it up next week
UK capital needs greater powers following Brexit decision, Sadiq Khan says
As UK's Conservative Party prepares for post-Brexit leadership race, British leader David Cameron travels to Brussels