Pinault pay out to US insurance policyholders

28th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

LOS ANGELES, May 27 (AFP) - French firm Artemis S.A., has paid USD 110 million to US insurance policyholders under a settlement stemming from the illegal 1991 purchase of insurer Executive Life, prosecutors said Thursday.

LOS ANGELES, May 27 (AFP) - French firm Artemis S.A., has paid USD 110 million to US insurance policyholders under a settlement stemming from the illegal 1991 purchase of insurer Executive Life, prosecutors said Thursday.

The payment came nearly six months after US authorities struck the largest criminal settlement in US history with French parties involved in the purchase of Executive Life by French bank Credit Lyonnais.

The US Attorney in Los Angeles, Debra Yang, who had accused Credit Lyonnais and other French parties of fraud in the transaction, said the cash had been transferred to the California Insurance Commissioner who is waging a complex civil lawsuit on behalf of Executive Life policyholders.

The funds, transferred Tuesday, are earmarked for distribution to former policyholders of the firm to compensate them for losses.

The company was accused of acquiring Executive Life and its lucrative junk bond portfolio from Credit Lyonnais in 1992 as part of a plot to hide the bank's role in the acquisition which flouted US laws.

Artemis, the holding company of French retail billionaire Francois Pinault, has also handed over another USD 75 million to a settlement fund pending the outcome of the massive civil lawsuit.

In addition, Artemis paid USD 500,000 in compensation to the US Attorney's office for costs incurred during the criminal investigation that dragged on for more than a decade.

The payments form part of a much broader deal struck in December under which the French parties agreed to pay a total of USD 771.75 million to end the criminal case against them.

The parties to the settlement include Credit Lyonnais, Artemis, Pinault, the CDR - a state-owned body that manages the assets of Credit Lyonnais - and the French insurer Maaf and its former chairman Jean-Claude Seys.

The French parties pled guilty to various criminal charges and agreed to hand over cash to avoid a messy trial that could have cost Credit Lyonnais, now owned by Credit Agricole, its precious US banking licence.

In addition, formerly state-owned Credit Lyonnais agreed to pay the largest ever fine to be paid to the US Federal Reserve - USD 100 million.

© AFP

Subject: French news

 

 


 

0 Comments To This Article