exelf chief back in court over togolese fraud probe
Last Updated : GMT 05:12:21
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Arab Today, arab today

Ex-Elf chief back in court over Togolese fraud probe

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Ex-Elf chief back in court over Togolese fraud probe

Paris - AFP

The ex-head of French oil giant Elf re-appeared before an investigating judge in the West African nation of Togo on Wednesday, two days after being charged in connection with a fraud probe. Loik Le Floch-Prigent entered the judge's chambers for the closed-door session at the Lome tribunal late in the afternoon along with his lawyer and without commenting. The ex-Elf chief executive was charged with accessory to fraud by a Togolese judge on Monday following his lightning-fast extradition from Ivory Coast over the weekend. As the procedure continues, he has been held in an office at the gendarmerie. The probe involves a complaint from an Emirati businessman who alleges he was the victim of a $48-million (37-million-euro) fraud. The purported victim, Abbas Al Yousef, claims Le Floch-Prigent was acting as his personal adviser at the time. The case centres on accusations that a network claimed to have access to $275 million in a Togolese account left by former Ivorian military ruler Robert Guei, who was killed in 2002. Al Yousef, who manages investments, including in the oil and gas industry, alleges $48 million was embezzled from him in the affair and that he was to help those with access to the fortune invest. Togo's former minister of territorial administration, Pascal Bodjona, has also been charged in the case, as well as Togolese businessman Bertin Sow Agba. Al Yousef claims he was the victim of an advance fee fraud involving Bodjona, and says the former minister's name and position were used to establish trust. Le Floch-Prigent, currently an oil industry consultant who turns 69 this month, has already served jail terms in France for corruption which dated from his time as head of Elf from 1989 to 1993. Several Elf senior managers were jailed after a corruption scandal that broke in the 1990s. The company was taken over by French oil giant Total in 2000.

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