The PIP scandal saw around 50,000 British women fitted with the potentially dangerous implants. A leading surgeon has claimed around one in 10 may have ruptured.
Around 3000 of the British women had the implants fitted following breast cancer surgery.
An investigation into PIP was launched in December, and some sources report that the police are considering charges of homicide and involuntary harm.
Mas was arrested in the south of France this morning and taken into police custody. A deputy chief executive has also been arrested at his home.
Around 2700 women have filed complaints against Mas. While health authorities in France, Germany and the Czech Republic have advised women to have the implants removed, the UK government has said there is no need.
Mas, 72, admitted that some of PIP’s implants contained industrial-grade silicone, but argued there is no evidence it is more harmful than medical-grade silicone.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged women who have the implants and are concerned about them to seek medical advice, but admitted that it did not have a clear picture of exactly how harmful the implants could be.
“While the rupture rate of PIP prostheses was observed to be higher than expected in France, rates reported by other national authorities vary,” WHO said.
PIP closed down in March 2010 after regulators discovered it was using non-medical grade silicone. The company had produced over 100,000 implants a year and exported 80 per cent of them, making it one of the world’s largest producers of silicone implants.