French president-elect Nicolas Sarkozy is taking flak from his liberal opponents for taking a trip aboard a rented yacht loaned by none other than billionaire investor Vincent Bolloré (shown here), chairman of Havas, the holding company that owns ad networks Arnold, Euro RSCG and MPG. There were riots in France following Sarkozy’s victory over socialist Segolene Royal, and his absence from French soil fueled the controversy. “I have no intention of apologizing” for the post-election joy ride, Sarkozy tells Europe-1 radio, arguing that he wanted to chill out before taking over from Jacques Chirac on May 16. Sarkozy also mounted a personal defense of Bolloré, saying, “It is not shameful to have worked hard, to have created a big (investment) group, to have given people jobs.” The real winner in all this may be Alain de Pouzilhac, the former Havas chief whom Bolloré deposed in a corporate coup two years ago. De Pouzilhac now runs France 24, the Gallic version of CNN. Splashed across its homepage this morning: “Sarkozy’s yacht trip causes storm.” La vengeance est un plat qui se mange froid!
—Posted by David Gianatasio