Second day of questioning for French industrialist Dassault

20th February 2014, Comments 0 comments

French billionaire industrialist and senator Serge Dassault was grilled Thursday for a second day over alleged vote buying in his former fiefdom east of Paris.

Dassault was taken into custody on Wednesday by a police anti-corruption and fraud squad for questioning over suspected vote buying in Corbeil-Essonnes, where he was formerly mayor.

The 88-year-old was questioned until late Wednesday, allowed to spend the night at home and returned around 9:00 am (0800 GMT) to a police headquarters in the Paris suburb of Nanterre.

Dassault has denied any wrongdoing and vowed to prove his innocence, requesting himself that his parliamentary immunity be lifted so he could be questioned.

Investigators suspect Dassault of operating an extensive system of vote buying that influenced the outcome of three elections in Corbeil in 2008, 2009 and 2010, which were won either by Dassault or by his successor and close associate Jean-Pierre Bechter.

Dassault is ranked by Forbes magazine as France's fourth-richest man and the 69th-richest in the world, with an estimated fortune of 13 billion euros ($18 billion).

He heads the Dassault Group, which owns the country's main right-wing newspaper Le Figaro and holds a majority stake in Dassault Aviation which makes business and military aircraft -- including the Rafale fighter jet.

© 2014 AFP

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