Cops nabbed Jean-Claude Mas – the founder of Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) – at his home in southern France this morning.
Mas’s firm sparked an international health scandal – with thousands of women fearing their implants could leak.
Up to 40,000 British women are believed to have been affected by the scare.
Mas, 72, was arrested at around 6am today at his home after police searched the premises.
He will be held for 48 hours while investigators decide whether to charge him with involuntary manslaughter and causing injury.
Mas, who sold some 300,000 implants around the world, recently spoke out for the first time since the scandal erupted in December.
He acknowledged that he had used unapproved silicon and scoffed at the idea that it constituted a health risk.
A second executive Claude Couty from the French firm was also arrested, the source said.
PIP closed down in March 2010 after regulators discovered it was using a non-medical grade silicon in its implants.
Then a worldwide panic was sparked last month when the French government advised women with the implants to have them removed.
The implants were pulled from the market in several countries in and beyond Europe amid fears they could rupture and leak silicone into the body.
Authorities worldwide have been scrambling to deal with the scandal and decide who will pay to remove the implants made with cheap, industrial-grade silicone instead of medical-grade gel.
European governments have taken different positions: German, Czech and French authorities say the implants should be removed.
Britain says there is not enough evidence of health risks to suggest they should be taken out in all cases.
According to estimates by national authorities, more than 42,000 women in Britain received the implants, over 30,000 in France, 9,000 in Australia and 4,000 in Italy.
Nearly 25,000 of the implants were sold in Brazil.
From: The Sun