Messier, Vivendi slapped with EUR 1m fine

7th December 2004, Comments 1 comment

PARIS, Dec 7 (AFP) - Former high-flying French media magnate Jean-Marie Messier and the entertainment group he used to run, Vivendi Universal, were each fined EUR 1 million (USD 1.3 million) Tuesday for hiding the company's financial situation, Messier's lawyer said.

PARIS, Dec 7 (AFP) - Former high-flying French media magnate Jean-Marie Messier and the entertainment group he used to run, Vivendi Universal, were each fined EUR 1 million (USD 1.3 million) Tuesday for hiding the company's financial situation, Messier's lawyer said.

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

Messier's lawyer, Olivier Metzner, said his client would appeal the decision. He said the AMF determined that Messier had not been sufficiently open in public about Vivendi's finances and debt but had not upheld other charges relating to the consolidation of telecommunications operations in France and Morocco.

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 18.6 million) pay-out in return for settling charges brought by US stock market 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.

Vivendi last month announced sharply improved performance and a net profit in the third quarter of 2004 of EUR 776 million (USD 1 billion).

© AFP

Subject: French News

1 Comment To This Article

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