Havas’ headquarters were raided by French anti-corruption police on Tuesday.
RFI reported that the raid was part of an investigation launched in March regarding charges of “favouritism, complicity and profiting from favouritism” related to the agency’s involvement with promoting French tech companies during CES Las Vegas, which also involved a visit by French President Emmanuel Macron (who was then economy minister). Macron’s successor as economy minister, Michel Sapin, told RFI Macron isn’t accountable, pinning the blame on a “malfunction by Business France.”
The offices of Business France were reportedly also raided as part of the investigation.
RFI added that Business France awarded the assignment to Havas without issuing any call for alternative bids.
According to AdAge, Business France claimed in a statement released months ago it made the decision to award the assignment to Havas because it was facing a fast-approaching deadline and already had established a relationship with the agency, but it also recognized “potential irregularity” in the organization of the event.