French news reports state that Alexandre Rodriguez, chairman of Rodriguez Group, is in police custody on suspicion of participating in organized crime.
According to Les Echos and other media, Rodriguez and 20 other people were arrested over the weekend on charges that include money laundering. Four yachts were seized during the operation, along with large quantities of cash, false documentation, and handguns. It was not clear in the news reports whether the cash and other items were aboard the yachts or related to them. The newspaper further reported that Rodriguez could be held through this evening, as conspiracy charges permit a person to be held up to 96 hours.
Rodriguez Group is the parent company for the Mangusta line of yachts and superyachts. It also owns Camper & Nicholsons. Neither the shipyards nor the brokerage firm are under investigation. Rodriguez Group is also a publicly traded company and requested trading of its shares be suspended on Tuesday, pending a statement to be released. Thus far no word has come from the company, but we are continuing to follow developments and will update accordingly.
UPDATE, JUNE 13: According to reports from Agence France Press and French newspapers on Thursday, Rodriguez was indicted and imprisoned for “laundering offense under the laws on gambling and extortion compounded, harboring criminals, abuse of corporate assets (ABS).” He and others who were indicted were arrested aboard a yacht last Saturday. Investigators were quoted as saying Rodriguez admits to making yachts available as part of a money-laundering operation. Since he did not personally profit, the investigators state, he is being prosecuted for abuse of corporate assets, for allegedly providing the yachts for free to the other individuals imprisoned in the investigation.