The founder of the French breast implant company at the centre of a global health scare affecting hundreds of thousands of women has been released from police custody on bail.

Jean-Claude Mas, the boss of Poly Implant Prothese (PIP), was arrested in the French Riviera town of Six-Fours-les-Plages.

His lawyer, Yves Haddad, said Mas had been charged with "involuntary homicide" and causing bodily harm during a late-night hearing in the southern port city of Marseille.

Mas was released on bail pending further investigation.

Prosecutors said police had also arrested Claude Couty, another executive from the company which was shut down in 2010.

The PIP scandal spread globally in late 2011 after French health authorities advised 30,000 French women to have their breast implants removed because of an increased risk of rupture.

Between 400,000 and 500,000 women in 65 countries are believed to have received implants from PIP.

Mas, 72, admitted in December that his now bankrupt company knowingly used sub-standard silicone in the implants.

The company supplied wealthier clients with high-quality gel implants but "simple" implants, supplied at discounted prices, contained a cheaper, industrial-grade silicone that had not been approved by health authorities.

The company said the "house gel" version of the implants was "just as effective but five times cheaper" than the high-end version.

PIP never sought the approval of France's medical safety regulators, AFSS-APS, on its implants.

Speaking through his lawyer, Yves Haddad, Mas admitted that products made by PIP "did not formally receive approval and, in this regard, there was a violation of regulations".

It was later discovered that thousands more women may be at risk of sub-standard silicone breast implants after it was revealed that PIP was selling implants under a different name via the Dutch companyRofil Medical Nederland BV.