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Ex-Vivendi Boss Jean-Marie Messier Gets Reduced Sentence

Corporate empire builder enjoyed $25 million severance.

Jean-Marie Messier, the former boss of French-U.S. entertainment conglomerate Vivendi Universal, Monday had his sentence for fraud reduced by a Paris court of appeal.

The court handed him a suspended ten month sentence and a Euros 50,000 ($70,000) fine on charges relating to his Euros 18.5 million ($26 million) Vivendi severance pay. It reverses an earlier ruling and clears him of charges of providing financial misinformation relating to the 2000-2002 period at Vivendi.

Previously he had been given a suspended three year jail sentence.

Messier took control of French utility company General des Eaux and turned it into a media empire through the 2000 acquisitions of Canal Plus and the then Universal-owner Seagram.

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