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JUDGE SACKS PARRETTI

Fraud claims against Credit Lyonnais rejected

Giancarlo Parretti has been dealt another legal setback in his $3.9 billion lawsuit against Credit Lyonnais. An L.A. Superior Court judge has rejected the claims of fraud Parretti lodged against the bank and its former Dutch subsidiary, Credit Lyonnais Bank Nederland.

The ruling, entered by judge Joseph R. Kalin on March 13 but received by attorneys for CL on Tuesday, also paves the way for the entering of a default judgment against Parretti that could put an end to his six-year litigation against the bank.

Parretti fled the U.S. to Italy in January in an effort to avoid sentencing on his conviction for perjury and evidence tampering.

On March 26, a U.S. attorney will ask a federal magistrate to declare Parretti to be in violation of his bail agreement.

If the former Pathe Communications chief is ruled to be in violation of his bail agreement as a result of his fleeing the court’s jurisdiction without permission, CL can ostensibly obtain a default judgment against him.

Kalin’s ruling, however, leaves standing the June 9 trial date on CL’s $300 million claim against Parretti for fraudulently inducing bank financing of the MGM acquisition in 1990 and for allegedly looting the company in the process.

A law and motion court referee agreed with attorneys for CL, Travers Wood and Steven Turnbull of White & Case, who successfully argued that Parretti’s claims had already been thoroughly vetted in a Delaware court. Kalin’s ruling was based on the law and motion court’s findings.

However, Parretti was not represented in the matter because his longtime attorney, Jay Coggan, was permitted by a judge to withdraw as counsel a week before the hearing.

Parretti claims in his lawsuit that CL and MGM conspired to wrest control of the studio from him.

In October, he was convicted of perjury as a result of false testimony about an altered document. He was scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 6 and faced a 10-year prison sentence on the charge, but fled the U.S.

Parretti’s conviction stems from the 1991 trial with the bank over control of MGM and its board of directors.

In 1995, he returned to the U.S. to attend a deposition after a four-year absence. He was arrested by INS agents on a French extradition request. He was released 35 days later.

In the course of the civil litigation, Parretti has tried seemingly every legal tactic possible, including attempting to get the lawsuit moved into different jurisdictions, such as Delaware and L.A., as well as from federal to state court and back again.

Along the way, he has also been indicted, incarcerated pending extradition and investigated by the FBI and the Securities & Exchange Commission.

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