Investigators search Canal Plus in Breton case

28th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 28 (AFP) - Investigators on Tuesday searched French cable network Canal Plus in connection with a probe into financial conditions surrounding the 2002 sale of one of its units to Thomson Multimedia, where Finance Minister Thierry Breton at the time was chairman, a source close to the case said.

PARIS, June 28 (AFP) - Investigators on Tuesday searched French cable network Canal Plus in connection with a probe into financial conditions surrounding the 2002 sale of one of its units to Thomson Multimedia, where Finance Minister Thierry Breton at the time was chairman, a source close to the case said.

The probe centers on the sale of Canal Plus Technologies to Thomson Multimedia for EUR 190 million, a transaction that investigating magistrates have been investigating since October 2004, the source said.

Thomson Multimedia, whose operations have since been incorporated into Thomson SA, sold part of Canal Plus Technologies in 2003 to Kudelski Group for EUR 240 million.

Thomson SA, which declined to comment on Tuesday's operation, still holds part of the former operations of Canal Plus Technologies.

Last December, Vivendi Univeral, parent company of Canal Plus, rebutted claims that Canal Plus Technologies had been underpriced when sold to Thomson Multimedia, insisting that Thomson added value to the company through industrial expertise, client portfolios and intellectual property prior to its resale to Kudelski.

Canal Plus also declined to comment on the reported search, which came a day after investigators and police raided the offices of French chemicals group Rhodia and the finance ministry in a probe that sources said related to transactions that occurred at Rhodia while Breton was a member of its board.

Breton was on the Rhodia board from 1999 to 2002.

The finance ministry confirmed that a search took place but declined to comment on whether it might be linked to an investigation into accounting practices at Rhodia, which was opened last October following a complaint to the prosecutor.

Breton has strongly denied any knowledge of wrongdoing at Rhodia, asserting that he had been responsible for upgrading audit procedures at the company.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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