French authorities raid Vivendi offices

The investigation into the financial affairs of Vivendi Universal during Jean-Marie Messier's tenure as chairman and chief...

The investigation into the financial affairs of Vivendi Universal during Jean-Marie Messier's tenure as chairman and chief executive officer took a new turn yesterday as authorities searched the group's headquarters in Paris, as well as offices at Cégétel, its telecommunications affiliate.

The home of the ex-CEO was also searched, conducted by the financial arm of the public prosecutor's office. Messier was ousted in July in the middle of enquiries about the company's accounting and financial status.

In a statement issued yesterday, Vivendi confirmed its headquarters were searched, and that it is co-operating with the authorities.

The French case revolves around charges that Vivendi published false balance sheets regarding its 2000 and 2001 financial years, and released erroneous or falsified information to financial markets during 2001 and 2002.

French authorities will soon have at their disposal a detailed report prepared by Paris Bourse regulatory authority, the Commission des Opérations de Bourse.

Vivendi is also the subject of several inquiries in the US. Both the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the US Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York are looking into the company's financial dealings. Adding to the company's woes are shareholder lawsuits in both the US and France.

Vivendi racked up huge losses in its efforts to transform itself from a utilities company into a media giant. For the third quarter, it reported a net loss of €1.23bn (£790m) to 30 September.

To reduce its debt, the company is now in the process of selling off a variety of assets, including entertainment units.

Read more on IT legislation and regulation

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

SearchCIO

SearchSecurity

SearchNetworking

SearchDataCenter

SearchDataManagement

Close