By Emilio Parodi, Stephen Jewkes and Elvira Pollina
MILAN (Reuters) – Italian prosecutors have accomplished a probe into Vivendi (OTC:)’s Vincent Bollore and Arnaud De Puyfontaine for alleged market manipulation and obstruction of regulators, tax police stated on Saturday.
The prosecutors’ probe revolves round allegations the 2 managers pulled a deal to purchase the pay TV unit of Italian broadcaster Mediaset (OTC:) to drive down its share worth and raid its inventory, in response to a doc seen by Reuters.
A lawyer representing the 2 males has not replied to date to an e-mail request for remark despatched by Reuters. Vivendi categorically denied any wrongdoing within the case in a press release on Saturday.
Within the probe closure doc seen by Reuters, prosecutors allege the true goal of the pay-TV deal was “to achieve a related share holding, a minimum of 24.99%, within the capital of Mediaset”.
They allege three Vivendi statements issued in 2016 have been written to persuade the market the deal had fallen by way of due to “unsuitable illustration by Mediaset of the economic-financial state of affairs” of the pay-TV unit.
In addition they allege the 2 managers failed to inform the market that they had employed Italian financial institution Mediobanca (OTC:) to review methods of constructing a stake in Mediaset.
The most recent improvement within the long-running case comes amid stress between the Paris-based firm and Italy over a regulation doubtlessly curbing its pursuits within the nation.
Fininvest, the holding firm that controls Mediaset, initially filed a grievance over Vivendi’s stake-building on the finish of 2016 accusing it of by no means aspiring to honour the pay-TV deal.
Prosecutors later positioned the then Vivendi chairman Bollore and CEO De Puyfontaine beneath investigation for alleged market manipulation over the French group’s stake-building in Mediaset.
In accordance with Italian authorized procedures, the prosecutors are actually anticipated to ask a decide to ship Bollore and De Puyfontaine to trial.
Vivendi, which questioned the pay-TV unit’s revenue forecasts when it ditched the deal, has beforehand stated its goal was to forge an alliance to create a European media firm.
The U-turn on the pay-TV buy by Vivendi, whose major investor is Bollore, prompted Mediaset and Fininvest to hunt multi-billion euro damages.
A authorized case has been ongoing ever since, whereas makes an attempt to clinch a wider settlement and break the stalemate have to date proved unsuccessful.
In Italy, investigations don’t suggest guilt and doesn’t essentially imply fees will likely be laid.
Mediaset and Fininvest declined to remark, whereas Mediobanca was not instantly out there for a remark.
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