Messier, Bronfman told to stand trial in Vivendi case

Thu Oct 22, 2009 5:28pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article
[-] Text [+]

PARIS (Reuters) - Former Vivendi boss Jean-Marie Messier and the head of Warner Music Group Edgar Bronfman Jr have been told to stand trial on various charges of financial wrong doing, according to a court document obtained by Reuters.

The charges include divulging misleading information, stock price manipulation and misuse of corporate funds. The decision was made earlier this month by investigating magistrate Jean-Marie d'Huy.

The case dates back to Messier's spell at the helm of the French media group at the start of the decade. Under his tenure, Vivendi embarked on an acquisition spree but ended up racking up massive debts and started to report losses.

Messier now runs merger advisory firm Messier Partners.

Lawyers for both Messier and Bronfman Jr, who used to serve on Vivendi's board, said their clients denied the charges.

"He himself believes that there are no charges to bring against him," said lawyer Olivier Metzner, representing Messier.

"We are just now reviewing the court filing, but as we've said all along Mr. Bronfman's transactions have at all times been proper and at no time did he contravene any French laws or regulations," said Bronfman's lawyer Thierry Marembert.

Other former leading Vivendi executives also will have to stand trial at the main court in Paris.

(Reporting by Thierry Leveque and Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Richard Chang and Carol Bishopric)

<p>Jean-Marie Messier the former head of French media and telecoms giant Vivendi Universal leaves the Elysee Palace in Paris, January 18, 2008. REUTERS/Charles Platiau</p>