MARSEILLE, France, June 10 (Reuters) - The chairman of yacht seller Rodriguez RDGP.PA is under judicial investigation, part of what police sources said was a high-profile operation that netted some of France’s most notorious gangsters.
“I can confirm that Mr. Rodriguez, Alexandre, is being detained,” a spokesman for Marseille police told Reuters on Thursday.
Asked about the nature of any charges against Rodriguez, he said: “We cannot say. He has been detained since late afternoon yesterday at the La Farlede jail in the Var area.”
Police sources said Rodriguez was now under judicial investigation, having initially been held for questioning as a police dragnet last weekend on France’s glamorous Mediterranean coast netted 21 people in and around Marseille for money laundering and slot machine trafficking. [ID:nLDE656287]
Rodriguez’s lawyer did not return Reuters phone calls.
Rodriguez shares were suspended on Tuesday at the company’s request, after falling over 9 percent.
The company said in a statement on Wednesday that it took the decision “to protect the shareholders of Rodriguez Group until the obtaining of more detailed information.
“The information released in the press over the last few days concerning Alexandre Rodriguez has had an immediate adverse impact on the trading of Rodriguez Group shares,” the company added.
The Rodriguez group had no further comment on Thursday.
The suspension came after the Cannes-based group started trading again on the Paris bourse in April following a year of debt restructuring talks with banks which had forced it to seek protection from creditors. [ID:nLDE6370PM]
Hit by the global financial crisis in the second half of 2008 as rich buyers postponed the purchase of luxury goods, Rodriguez had been left saddled with stocks of unsold 20 million euro yachts.
Rodriguez Group has a market value of about 47 million euros ($56.6 million). After a restructuring deal with banks announced last April, its remaining debt amounts to 139.3 million euros. (Reporting by Jean-Francois Rosnoblet, Michel Rose and Dominique Vidalon, editing by Will Waterman) ($1=.8307 Euro)