Ambiel in prime slot

P.M.'s ex-spin doctor joins Ben Ammar shingle

PARIS — Dominique Ambiel, the former spin doctor for French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, will be the next prexy of A Prime Group, a TV production outfit jointly owned by media dealmaker Tarak Ben Ammar and producer Jean-Luc Azoulay.

Ambiel, who has occupied an office at APG since mid-May, will take over from Ben Ammar as topper once the board approves his nomination in June, a spokesman for Ben Ammar’s cinema outfit Quinta confirmed.

While Quinta declined to provide financial details, Ambiel also is set to become an equal partner with Ben Ammar and Azoulay in APG, which produces Franco-European fiction, documentary and gameshows, including web France 2’s daily contest “La Cible.”

“In the past few months, Dominique Ambiel has been in contact with Tarak Ben Ammar,” a spokesman said. “His first career was in television production, and he knew that careers in politics don’t last forever.”

Charges pending

Ambiel, who founded Gallic TV production group Expand, ankled as Raffarin’s communications adviser in April after being arrested with a 17-year-old prostitute.

He is set to appear June 7 before a Paris correctional court for “soliciting, accepting or obtaining, in exchange for remuneration, sexual relations on the part of a minor engaged in prostitution,” a charge that can carry a three-year jail sentence and a fine of e45,000 ($54,500).

Quinta declined to comment on Ambiel’s legal woes.

Whether a guilty verdict for Ambiel would disturb the new partnership is unclear, but industry watchers believe it will have little impact. Ben Ammar and Ambiel have been friends for 25 years and have worked on numerous television projects together.

“I think the men are adult enough to take responsibility whatever the outcome,” one insider said.