Former Boss At Vivendi Appealing Conviction In French Court
Jean-Marie Messier is appealing his 2010 conviction by a French court for embezzlement and misleading investors while he was in charge of Vivendi SA. Messier now runs an boutique investment bank in Paris, according to Reuters, and is appealing the conviction that sentenced him with a three year suspended sentence and a fine of 150,000 euros or $206,900.
Messier took the French company on a wild ride of acquisitions that eventually brought the giant to its knees. Up until the fall of Vivendi, Messier had been dubbed the “master of the universe” by many admirers because of the expensive lifestyle he led.
Civil Suits And Criminal Cases
Following the initial case filed in Paris there were other actions taken by investors in the United States. A class action lawsuit was filed against Messier and other executive officers of Vivendi. The case alleged that investors had been misled regarding how strong the financial pillar of the corporation truly was.
There was also the criminal case filed in France against the business mogul that did not directly involve Vivendi as a defendant. In fact, the company was one of the plaintiffs claiming damages against Messier. The initial ruling in 2010 was that 1.2 million euros in damages were to be paid to a cross section of individual shareholders.
Messier Cleared In U.S. Class Action Suit
In January of 2010, Vivendi was found guilty of misleading shareholders about the true state of Vivendi’s financial health. The deception took place between October 2000 and August 2002. In the latter part of this time period, the shares of the company nose dived and lost 90% of its value.
However, Messier and Guillaume Hannezo, the former financial officer of Vivendi, were not found liable by the jury.
Messier’s lawyer, Francis Szpiner, declined to comment on the process before the appeal began, and Messier is no doubt on pins and needles awaiting the outcome of the court’s decision. This process could take up to five weeks to complete.
Vivendi Appealing U.S. Court Ruling
Vivendi is appealing the 2010 ruling of the U.S. court in the class action suit. The total amount of damages to be awarded has not yet been determined, and the company has refused to comment on the proceedings.
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