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MGM sued by Parretti

Still licking his wounds after three years, Giancarlo Parretti is back banging on the lion’s cage.

An attorney for the Italian businessman filed a $ 3.9 billion lawsuit as the court closed Wednesday against Credit Lyonnais Bank, MGM and Pathe Communications and their present and past officers. The suit claims that they attempted to defraud him out of ownership of MGM studio.

In the 83-page complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Parretti alleged violations of federal racketeering statutes, fraud and conspiracy by the officers of MGM and Credit Lyonnais to take back the studio from Parretti after he bought it from Kirk Kerkorian in 1990 for $ 1.3 bil.

“He wants his money or he wants his studio,” said Parretti attorney Jay M. Coogan. “He owned it. They took it back from him. I think he would want his studio back and damages for what it cost him.”

MGM officials, who had not seen the complaint, offered no comment. But the studio’s French owner, Credit Lyonnais, was eager to respond.

“We welcome Mr. Parretti’s arrival in Los Angeles, at which time we expect that he will be arrested in connection with his indictment in Delaware for perjury and evidence tampering,” said Fred Starr, spokesman for the bank. “The bank’s position with respect to MGM has been overwhelmingly vindicated in the Delaware Chancery Court and in numerous other legal venues.”

The bank took over MGM/UA in May 1991 after the Delaware court ruled Parretti had breached his loan agreements.

Parretti was also charged with perjury and evidence tampering over a document pertaining to his agreement with the bank, which was entered into the court record.

Coogan said Parretti had not scheduled a trip back to the U.S. but that he would return and would address the Delaware perjury proceedings then.

In the suit Parretti claims that Credit Lyonnais “manipulated” his loans so the bank could take over MGM/UA when Parretti failed to find financing. The bank , the suit says, restructured the transactions from equity participation by several companies into commercial loans.

Parretti alleged that the “fraudulent” act made it impossible to meet payments.

“Within moments of the closing, MGM was in debt about a half-billion dollars it wasn’t supposed to owe,” said Coogan.

The suit alleges that Credit Lyonnais paid Parretti’s former partner, Florio Fiorini, to perjure himself in a deposition entered into evidence in the Delaware trial.

It also claims that the bank filed other false police reports and criminal accusations in Rome courts after Parretti sued the bank in Italy to determine rightful ownership of MGM.

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