Vivendi withdraws suit against former execs

Vivendi Universal has withdrawn its damages lawsuit against former chief executive officer Jean-Marie Messier and former chief...

Vivendi Universal has withdrawn its damages lawsuit against former chief executive officer Jean-Marie Messier and former chief operating officer Eric Licoys.

The media conglomerate filed suit against Messier and Licoys after they failed to obtain authorisation from the board of directors before they signed a termination granting Messier severance payments of €20.5m.

Last month, the US Securities and Exchange Commission settled a civil fraud action against Vivendi, Messier, and former chief financial officer Guillaume Hannezo. The settlement included Messier's agreement to relinquish his claims to the €20.5m.

The SEC found that Vivendi, Messier and Hannezo concealed the company's cash flow and liquidity problems, used deceitful accounting methods to meet earning before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation targets, and failed to disclose material financial commitments. These actions are all in violation of the antifraud stipulations of US securities laws.

Katie Hamm writes for IDG News Service

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