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Fat cat payout blocked in Vivendi court case

It's getting messier and messier for Messier...
Written by Jo Best, Contributor

It's getting messier and messier for Messier...

The latest instalment in the Vivendi versus Jean Marie Messier saga has swung in the French company's favour, with a Paris court putting a freeze on the €20m pay-off previously awarded to the company's former CEO. Vivendi has also won approval from the French court to sue Messier and his associate Eric Licoys, the company's former chief operating officer, who signed the contract authorising the payout. As well as authorising legal proceedings which will see Vivendi claim damages and costs from Messier over the severance payment, the court agreed that no payment should be made to the ex-CEO without the approval of Vivendi's board. The chances of the board dishing out such an approval are wafer-thin, given that many believe Messier's leadership was the main reason Vivendi ended up billions in debt and on the edge of bankruptcy last year. The freeze on the payout comes as a result of a surprising move by French stock market regulator, the COB, who stepped in to the legal wrangle, stating that as the payout was made without the authorisation of Vivendi's board and shareholders, it was therefore illegal under French law. Messier responded by filing a court order in the US demanding payment.
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