According to Suaram director Cynthia Gabriel, immigration officials boarded the aircraft and detained Bourdon just as their plane touched down at KLIA in Sepang, Selangor.
"He has been taken to the immigration holding centre at KLIA," Gabriel told Malaysiakini.
Initially, the immigration officers, did not allow Bourdon's wife, also a lawyer, to go into the centre with him.
Following some negotiations, she has been allowed to accompany him.
According to Gabriel, the officers wanted to "question Bourdon".
At a packed dinner in Penang last night to raise funds for the Scorpene trial in France in which the NGO Suaram is involved, Bourdon (left) said the case would also expose details of secret meetings of those involved.
He said those beneficiaries and kickbacks from the RM7.3 billion Scorpene submarine deal would be revealed when the matter is raised in a French corruption trial against defence giant DCNS.
The Malaysian government have better come out with a good explanation as to the detention of Mr Bourdon. If not, the public will have no choice but to believe in the obvious. As the saying goes, you can run but you cannot hide.