Soros files claim against French courts

13th December 2006, Comments 0 comments

NEW YORK, Dec 13, 2006 (AFP) - Billionaire philanthropist George Soros lodged a claim Wednesday with the European Court of Human Rights, accusing the French courts of violating his rights by convicting him of insider trading.

NEW YORK, Dec 13, 2006 (AFP) - Billionaire philanthropist George Soros lodged a claim Wednesday with the European Court of Human Rights, accusing the French courts of violating his rights by convicting him of insider trading.

The US financier was convicted by a Paris court in 2002 over a share deal involving French bank Societe Generale going back to 1988. He was fined 2.2 million euros ($2.3 million at the time) for insider trading.

"It is important to me that my name be cleared," Soros said in a statement, announcing his decision to bring the case to the Strasbourg-based court.

"I would have rather settled this matter in France, but I have no other choice than to seek justice from the European Court to vindicate by reputation."

Soros says his conviction was based on unreliable testimony, that he was presumed to be guilty, didn't receive a fair hearing and that the law he was convicted under was so vague that violations would be impossible to determine.

Michael Vachon, a senior aide to Hungarian-born Soros, said the financier's detractors had used the conviction to undermine his reputation.

"George Soros's political opponents have made strategic use of the French decision in their attacks," he said.

Soros has notably aligned himself against US President George W. Bush and the Iraq war.

"By alleging that he engaged in illegal activity, they hope to draw attention away from his criticism of the president and to call into question the legitimacy of his financial support of Democratic causes," he added.

"The ill-founded French decision has been a powerful weapon in their arsenal, particularly because Mr. Soros's conduct has always met the highest ethical standards," Vachon said.

Soros, 76, is chairman of the Open Society Institute and founder of a network of philanthropic organisations that have in total donated more than $5five billion over the past quarter century.

The foundation aims to shape public policy to promote democratic governance, human rights, and economic, legal, and social reform.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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