Prosecutors in France have opened their own preliminary probe into potential corruption linked to French telecoms group Altice.

Bloomberg reported that a probe has been opened, months after Altice co-founder Armando Pereira and other business associates in Portugal were detained in July.

France court
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The publication reports that France’s Parquet National Financier is looking into suspicions of corruption of individuals who don’t hold public office, money laundering, and attempts to conceal these offenses.

An investigation in France was opened in September, according to a source.

Pereira no longer holds any executive roles at the telco, which he founded with Patrick Drahi and Bruno Moineville in 2002.

Pereira wasn't the only person arrested in Portugal, as local authorities revealed three people were detained following a number of raids of homes and offices across the country in July. He was released on a €10 million ($11m) bail.

The arrests are related to a three-year investigation into corruption, tax fraud, forgery, and money laundering at the telecoms company’s Portuguese subsidiary.

Drahi has previously said he feels "betrayed" by the probe into his fellow co-founder.

“Armando Pereira wants only one thing: for this investigation to move forward quickly and effectively,” Pereira's lawyer, Jean Tamalet, said. “He hopes to be heard so that his honor can be washed clean.”

The probe led to the resignation of Altice co-CEO Alexandre Fonseca in January. Fonseca was not considered a suspect in the investigation.

The investigation in France comes at a time when Drahi is looking to sell assets to ease the company's $60 billion in debts.

Altice hopes to sell its Portuguese unit for around $10 billion.

In a separate article last week, Bloomberg reported that Saudi Telecom Company (STC) has emerged as the front-runner to acquire the unit with the highest bid yet, although the valuation is still not close to the figure, Drahi wants.

Altice is also looking to sell off its Portuguese data center unit.

The company recently spun off its French data center assets, forming a new company with more than 250 facilities in France.

Altice is selling 70 percent of the new company, UltraEdge, to Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners (MSIP), in a transaction that values UltraEdge at €764 million ($836.5m) and is expected to close in the first half of 2024.