Remy Daillet, who was traveling on the Air France flight with his pregnant partner and three children, was immediately detained upon arrival at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, said an airport source, who asked not to be named.
The kidnapped girl, identified as Mia, was taken from the home in eastern France of her grandmother, who had custody of her, in mid-April by several men employed by Mia’s mother.
Investigators believe the kidnapping may have been organized by extremist activists led by Daillet who believe that children in care are unfairly taken from their parents.
Now he can appear before a judge in the north of Paris to be taken into custody or he could also be quickly transferred to the eastern city of Nancy with a view to being questioned and charged for the kidnapping by an examining magistrate.
Daillet, 54, and his family had been arrested in late May by Malaysian authorities after their visas expired. Kuala Lumpur then began the deportation process to France.
But the process was delayed on Sunday during a stopover in Singapore, where Daillet’s partner was hospitalized. Her lawyers argued that she was in no condition to travel.
Ten people, including the mother, were charged with kidnapping after an intense five-day search that ended in Switzerland and seven of them are now in detention.
Mia’s mother had lost custody of her daughter and was no longer allowed to see her alone or speak to her on the phone.
Daillet is known to police as a proponent of extremist conspiracy theories and a populist take on the state.
After the kidnapping, Daillet posted a video in which he said his organization “returns children abducted by the state to their parents, at their request. There was absolutely no kidnapping.”
In previous videos, he has supported the idea of a coup and has voiced his opposition to taxes, vaccines, and 5G and masks.
French prosecutors in April issued an international arrest warrant for Daillet, who had been living in Malaysia for several years. His detention for his resident status accelerated the deportation process.
Daillet is a former regional leader of France’s centrist MoDem party before being ousted in 2010.
Mia was returned to her grandmother’s care.