Former head of the French oil giant Elf, Loik Le Floch-Prigent, was arrested in Abidjan and extradited to Togo in connection with a fraud case, official sources said.
His French lawyer Patrick Klugman said Le Floch-Prigent had been held in Abidjan as a witness "over something which he knows nothing about," hinting that the case was politically motivated by the Togolese authorities.
However a Togolese judicial source told AFP that an international arrest warrant had been issued against the former Elf chief as part of a fraud investigation.
French broadcaster Radio France Internationale (RFI) reported that the former Elf executive had been put on a plane bound for Lome late Saturday.
A diplomat in the Togolese capital confirmed later that the 69-year-old French businessman had been transferred to a national police station.
The French embassy in Ivory Coast was not available for comment.
Le Floch-Prigent has already served jail terms in France for corruption while head of Elf from 1989 to 1993.
Several Elf senior managers were jailed after a corruption scandal that broke in the 1990s. The company was taken over by Total in 2000.
Le Floch-Prigent, who was first jailed for five months in 1996 for misuse of company assets, claimed at the time that the firm had been "considered as an arm of the state's foreign policy".
He was jailed again in 2003 on other charges and freed on probation in 2004 on health grounds, on condition that he pay compensation, at a rate based on his own revenues, to Total for the case involving Elf.
He was sent back to jail for six months in 2010 for failing to pay adequate compensation to Total.
His lawyer Klugman said that this time his client was just "a hostage to internal machinations in Togo," adding that there were serious concerns over Le Floch-Prigent's health and that he was due to for a "serious medical intervention" in Paris next week.
Le Floch Prigent currently works as a consultant to the oil business.© ANP/AFP