Former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin arrested over embezzlement case
By PETER ALLEN
In custody: Ex-PM Dominique de Villepin has been arrested in connection with a corruption case
Former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin was in police custody today after being arrested in connection with a corruption scandal.
The 58-year-old has been implicated in a fraud enquiry centred on the prestigious Relais & Chateaux (R&C) hotel and restaurant club.
Regis Bulot, a former senior manager at R&C, spent seven months in prison this year while waiting trial over the alleged theft of 1 million pounds through over-charging for the club’s guidebooks, which are available all over Britain.
De Villepin, who made his name in the UK by making a passionate speech to the United Nations opposing the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in 2003, is a close personal friend of Bulot, 64.
Now transcripts of telephone conversations have emerged from late 2011 which are said to prove De Villepin tried to stop R&C’s new management from proceeding with court action against Bulot.
There are also suspicions that some of the money siphoned away from R&C may have been used to fund De Villepin’s political career.
The two men are close friends and their families have often holidayed together in R&C hotels all over the world.
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