Ex-Vivendi chief appeals EUR 1m fine

4th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 3 (AFP) - Jean-Marie Messier, ex-head of French media giant Vivendi Universal, was set Friday to appeal a EUR 1 million fine imposed by the French financial markets regulator for failure to provide proper information to markets and shareholders.

PARIS, Feb 3 (AFP) - Jean-Marie Messier, ex-head of French media giant Vivendi Universal, was set Friday to appeal a EUR 1 million fine imposed by the French financial markets regulator for failure to provide proper information to markets and shareholders.

The former high-flying French media magnate and the entertainment group he used to run, Vivendi Universal, were each fined EUR 1 million (USD 1.3 million) in December for hiding the company's financial situation between 2000 and 2002.

His attorney Olivier Metzner said Friday the appeal would challenge the fairness of the enquiry conducted by the stock market watchdog, the Commission d'Operations de Bourse (COB), saying the defence's rights had not been properly respected.

France's stockmarket regulator, the Financial Markets Authority (AMF), levied the fines after investigating alleged embezzlement and insider trading dating to between 2000 and 2002, when Messier built Vivendi from a water utility into a global media group.

Messier was forced out as CEO and chairman of Vivendi in July 2002, as the group was teetering with EUR 35 billion (USD 47 billion) in debt racked up from his three-year acquisition drive.

He was forced to renounce his claim to a USD 25 million (EUR 19 million) pay-out in return for settling charges brought by US stockmarket regulators.

Messier turned to becoming a hedge fund manager for a small number of clients, while his successor, Jean-Rene Fourtou, set about selling off chunks of Vivendi to bring its debt down to a manageable level.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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