Togo frees former Elf boss after five months
LOME (AFP) – Togo on Tuesday released former Elf chief Loik Le Floch-Prigent on health grounds, five months after detaining him over alleged fraud, the judicial authorities said here.
“The judiciary Tuesday ordered the release of Loik Le Floch-Prigent for health reasons,” the tiny west African nation’s chief prosecutor Essolissam Poyodi told AFP.
The official said the former chairman of the then state-owned Elf oil giant was expected to fly back to Paris on Tuesday night but will remain at the disposal of the Togolese judiciary.
Le Floch-Prigent suffers from a form of skin cancer, according to his lawyer and relatives, who have been pleading with the authorities in Togo for months to demand his release.
In a letter addressed to Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe in early February, the former Elf chief’s family said “he risks amputation and death” if denied access to specialised treatment in France.
The probe involves a complaint from an Emirati businessman who alleges he was the victim of a $48-million 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.