Parretti hits CL with $ 346 mil lawsuit

ORVIETO, Italy–Italian financier Giancarlo Parretti sued the bank that fed his $ 1.3 billion buyout of the MGM lion, charging Credit Lyonnais with “extortion.”

In a press conference Friday about the suit that seeks $ 346 millionin damages, Parretti claims CL exex pushed the studio to the brink of bankruptcy as a way to boot him out and take control. He also wants reinstatement of his MGM shares.

He charged CL, owned by the French government, with using every means “licit and illicit” to strip both him and his family of their holdings.

“When we first started doing business together, the bank helped me a lot. But then it started playing a strange game,” he said. “Whether it’s a dirty game or not is for the court to decide.”

The 46-page suit was filed in civil court here against CL’s top officials: Chairman Jean-Yves Harberer and board directors Alexis Wolkensten, Wilhelm Van Driel and Francois Gille. Both Gille and Wolkenstein testified against Parretti during the trial in Delaware last year when CL seized control of MGM from Parretti.

But Parretti tried to regain control by filing a suit in Italian courts, which ruled in his favor in March. The Delaware court countered by rejecting that decision. Now Delaware authorities are trying to extradite Parretti on perjury charges for allegedly tampering with evidence he introduced during the Delaware trial.

When pressed about the perjury charge, Parretti said: “I don’t know anything (about) this joke about the extradition request … I’ve seen press reports about it, but I have not been officially informed of any action.”

In his suit, Parretti claims CL officials repeatedly broke contractual agreements, threatened his companies “with annihilation” and tried to intimidate him from selling off any assets.

The suit also demands all of CL’s holdings in Italy be sequestered.

Parretti said he filed the suit because “I want to regain control of my company. … I want the judges to go through all the papers and really know what went on.” But he dodged questions about the FBI investigating any alleged misuse of MGM funds or assets during his brief reign over the studio.

CL spokesman Fred Spar said the latest suit is “more of the same.”

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