Viv U files to halt cash for Messier

Legal team calls move a 'flagrant violation'

NEW YORK — An emboldened Vivendi Universal on Friday challenged a New York arbitration tribunal’s decision forcing it to pay a hefty severance package to former CEO Jean Marie Messier.

Gallic company filed papers in New York Supreme Court asking that the $23.4 million golden parachute payment requirement be set aside. The matter will be heard by the court on Friday.

Viv U scored a small victory last week when a Paris court ruled to freeze Messier’s payment until the board of directors officially approves it.

Meanwhile, Messier’s legal team described Vivendi’s denial of his contract a “flagrant violation” of the arbitration panel’s decision last month and said it will seek “appropriate relief” against Viv U for violating the contract terms.

In a statement, Messier’s New York lawyer Michael Malone said, “Vivendi’s actions should be seen for what they are — a desperate attempt by an unhappy litigant to escape a final and binding ruling against it.”

Malone intends to file more papers this week to support the court’s confirmation of the award.

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