Jean-Marie Messier, once Chairman & CEO of Vivendi, is appealing to a French court to overturn a 2011 verdict that punished him with a 3-year suspended sentence and a €300,000 fine for embezzlement and deliberately misleading shareholders.
The conviction followed on from his time at Compagnie Generale des Eaux during 1994 and the following 8 years when he rapidly expanded the business to absorb Canal Plus and Seagram/Universal Studios and formed Vivendi Universal in 2000. He resigned in July 2002 after posting a loss of €13.6 billion. The criminal case came about when it emerged that he had used company cash to buy himself a $17 million Park Avenue, New York, apartment for his personal use.
Messier is now challenging the 2011 verdict and is appealing, saying he has done nothing wrong and wishes to restore his “honour”. At the 2011 trial the court said Messier was an “illusionist of debt”. The appeal is likely to last five weeks say local reports.