PARIS -- French authorities filed preliminary terrorism charges Tuesday against a Tunisian administrator of an extremist French website who is suspected of playing a key role in financing and recruiting for al-Qaida and other violent groups.
The announcement of the suspect's arrest was unusually dramatic and public for French authorities, but it did not spell out what evidence has been culled or how much money may have been involved, or provide the man's name. It is the first publicly announced suspected terrorist arrest since President Francois Hollande took office in May.
The suspect -- whom prosecutors described as a "formidable financier of the bloodiest terrorist groups" -- was questioned Tuesday by anti-terrorism Judge Marc Trevidic in Paris.
Preliminary charges were filed against him for suspected plotting of terrorist acts and financing a terrorist enterprise, the prosecutor's office said. Under French law, preliminary charges mean investigating magistrates have strong reason to believe a crime was committed, and allow more time for investigation before a decision is made on whether to send the case to trial.
The suspect will remain in custody pending further investigation. Prosecutors say he is suspected of acting as a financier and recruiter for an unusually broad range of terrorist groups stretching from South Asia across the Middle East to North Africa: al-Qaida, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, Lebanon-based Fatah al-Islam, the Islamic State of Iraq, Tawhid al-Jihad and Palestinian extremist group Jaish al-Islam.
The man, born in Tunisia in 1977, was arrested Friday after a yearlong investigation, the prosecutor's statement said.