Executive Life file now defunct, says France

17th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

BRUSSELS, Feb 17 (AFP) - Legal disputes over the role of Credit Lyonnais bank in the purchase of assets from failed California insurance company Executive Life are now closed, French Finance Minister Herve Gaymard said here on Thursday.

BRUSSELS, Feb 17 (AFP) - Legal disputes over the role of Credit Lyonnais bank in the purchase of assets from failed California insurance company Executive Life are now closed, French Finance Minister Herve Gaymard said here on Thursday.

Speaking after an out-of-court settlement had been reached in California, Gaymard said the settlement had averted a risk of France being fined billions of dollars.

Civil action against Credit Lyonnais has been settled by an agreement by France to pay USD 600 million dollars (EUR 461.5 million).

"All of the issues have now been dealt with. That was the condition for accepting mediation," he told a press conference outside a meeting of EU finance ministers here.

Gaymard said that if a court case had gone ahead, France could have been fined "between USD 3-6 billion (EUR 2.3-4.6 billion)".

At the time of the alleged offences, Credit Lyonnais was owned by the French state.

The complaints against it turned on the role it had played in the early 1990s in acquiring, and in enabling other French interests to acquire, assets held by Executive Life that subsequently rose in value.

It later emerged that the bank had allegedly broken California law by concealing that the assets were being acquired by a bank at a time when it was illegal for a bank to own a large part of a Californian insurance business.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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