When billionaire Vincent Bolloré secretly shadowed an unflattering TV documentary

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French police phone taps of billionaire businessman Vincent Bolloré during a judicial investigation into suspected corrupt practises in West Africa by his family-owned industrial group, now a media and publishing empire, show how, with the help of influential PR advisor Ramzi Khiroun, he was secretly informed of the contents of an unflattering profile of him by public broadcaster France 2. They also unveil how, as the corruption probe closed in, he received crisis management advice from former French president and friend Nicolas Sarkozy. The taps are among a series of revelations in ‘Media Crash’, a documentary co-produced by Mediapart exposing the inside story of the manipulation of the French press and broadcast media by a handful of self-serving, wealthy proprietors, to be released in theatres around France, beginning on February 16th. Yann Philippin and Valentine Oberti report.

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It was at around 6am on the morning of April 8th 2016 when officers from the specialist anti-corruption branch of the French police, OCLCIFF, arrived with a search warrant at the home of businessman Vincent Bolloré, situated in the plush and private ‘Villa Montmorency’ residential park in western Paris. At the same time that morning, other officers turned up to search offices at the headquarters of the billionaire’s Bolloré group, located in the nearby suburb of Puteaux.