Posted on February 27th, 2019
By Ian Sparks
PUBLISHED:07:15 EST, 26 March 2013| UPDATED:04:43 EST, 27 March 2013
Cocaine worth more than £40million has been found aboard a private jet owned by a French tycoon based in London.
The vast haul of drugs was found by customs officers in the Dominican Republic on a plane owned by millionaire businessman Alain Afflelou – who was not on board at the time.
Officials boarded the Falcon jet minutes before it was due to leave the Caribbean island for Paris and seized 26 suitcases packed with 680kg of the class A drug.
Four French nationals, as well as several local police officers, were arrested after the seizure on suspicion of being part of an international drug-trafficking network.
Opticians chain owner Afflelou swiftly denied all knowledge of the drugs, stating he had loaned his plane out to Lyon-based Transhelicopter Services company.
A spokesman for Mr Afflelou said after the bust on Sunday: ‘Alain heard the news last night through the media and he’s amazed.
‘He will now take all the necessary steps to establish what happened. A letter demanding an explanation has also been sent to the French leasing company.’
Mr Afflelou, 64, sparked a storm on controversy in December when he announced he was moving to Britain amid plans for massive tax hikes on France’s highest earners.
The businessman – who has an estimated £190 million fortune – is among a flood of French millionaires including film star Gerard Depardieu and musician Jean-Michel Jarre quitting France ahead of a looming 75 per cent tax on earnings above one million euros.