Vivendi offices raided in financial investigation
PARIS - The offices of the French media giant Vivendi Universal have been raided by the police as part of an investigation into suspected financial irregularities at the company.
Reports say that Vivendi's offices have been searched by authorities, along with the Paris home of former chief executive Jean-Marie Messier.
Messier is subsequently reported to have cancelled a meeting scheduled today in Paris with reporters. He was replaced as CEO in July this year by Jean-Rene Fourtou, after presiding over Vivendi's costly move into media and entertainment faciliated by its merger with Universal.
Vivendi is being investigated over claims that it misled shareholders by publishing information that falsely boosted its share price. Shareholders are saying that Vivendi mislead them on its prospects for 2000 and 2001, and that it published false balance sheets both those years.
An investigation is being carried about by French police, as well as the US financial watchdog the Securities & Exchange Commission and the US Attorney for the southern district of New York. Today's raid was carried out by French police and Vivendi has confirmed that it is cooperating fully with the investigation.
Vivendi is trying to turn around its financial crisis by disposing of assets, including Telepui, the Italian pay-television company, which it sold to News Corporation.
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