Executive Life whistleblower reveals his identity

17th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 16 (AFP) - A French businessman has revealed in an interview that it was he who tipped off US authorities about potential illegalities in the takeover of failed US insurer Executive Life by French bank Credit Lyonnais.

PARIS, June 16 (AFP) - A French businessman has revealed in an interview that it was he who tipped off US authorities about potential illegalities in the takeover of failed US insurer Executive Life by French bank Credit Lyonnais.  

"Yes, I am the one they called Mr X, who took the decision in 1998 to contact US authorities to inform them about fraud commited against US law by certain executives of Credit Lyonnais and Altus, a subsidiary of the bank," Francois Marland said in an interview to appear Thursday in French magazine Paris-Match.  

Until now, the identity of the person who originally tipped off US authorities had not been made known.  

Marland acted as an intermediary between Credit Lyonnais and French insurer Maaf during the purchase of Executive Life in the early 1990s.  

Credit Lyonnais, now a unit of French bank Credit Agricole but at the time state-owned, was accused in the United States of having organised the illegal purchase of Executive Life through Maaf as an intermediary.

Later, Artemis, the holding company of French billionaire Francois Pinault, bought the US insurer.  

At the time of the transaction banks in the United States were barred from holding more than a 25 percent stake in an insurance company.  

The French parties in the case agreed in December to pay a total of USD 771.75 million (EUR 643 million) to end the criminal case against them, of which the French state paid USD 475 million.  

Mediation talks are underway between French and US officials to avert a civil trial scheduled to open in February 2005.  

"I couldn't imagine in 1998 that this case would reach such amplitude," Marland said, adding, "I acted out of vengence."  

Marland spent 11 days in jail in 1994 over a case that pitted him against Credit Lyonnais.    "I wanted to punish people and a whole system was shaken up," he said.

© AFP

 
Subject: French news

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