Accused CL Exec Appeals Federal Reserve Sanctions

February 20, 2004

Jean Peyrelevade, the former CEO of French bank Credit Lyonnais, has appealed the sanctions leveled against him by the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank as a result of his criminal indictment in the Executive Life case.

Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles have charged that, although Peyrelevade was not a party to the takeover of Executive Life by companies operating at the instance of CL in 1992, he subsequently learned the details of the affair and failed to disclose them. As a result the Federal Reserve has levied a half-million fine against him, has ruled that he cannot work for any bank in the U.S., and is seeking to bar him from entering the country for three years, even though he has maintained that he is innocent of the charges.

He was not part of the settlement concluded in January in which CL, the French government, Artemis S.A. (the holding company of French businessman Fran├žois Pinault), and French insurer MAAF agreed to pay fines and make deposits totaling around $772 million to settle the criminal charges. Nor did he join in the plea bargain concluded earlier this month with prosecutors by Dominique Bazy, 52, a former CL director (See IJ Web site Feb. 10).

Peyrelevade has indicated that he will defend himself against the charges and has submitted documents in the course of his appeal that he indicated would prove his innocence. The Federal Reserve’s sanctions, although separate from the criminal indictment, are predicated on the same accusations. If the appeal is denied, it might prove somewhat difficult for Peyrelevade to appear in Los Angeles to defend himself, given the three-year ban.

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