Danon sues UGC for $13 mil

Former Lira Films topper claims he was never paid

PARIS — Former Lira Films topper Raymond Danon is taking cinema chain UGC to the Tribunal de Grande Instance (the High Court) to recover 100 million francs ($13 million) he claims he is owed following the takeover of his company in 1981.

Danon, ex-prexy of French producers’ union Chambre Syndicale des Producteurs, made many successful pics with Lira and won two Cesars before hitting financial difficulties.

He claims he relinquished control to UGC under a deal whereby he sold half of his shares for $535,000 and promised to sell the other half nine years later, based on half the company’s net assets.

“The second part was never paid,” said Danon, although he admits receiving a second payment of $20,000.

UGC sees the situation in a different light and believes that it saved Lira from bankruptcy.

“Danon is acting in bad faith,” said Maitre Mussat, the group’s lawyer. “At the time of the deal, his company was in the red.”

UGC has already won legal proceedings brought by Danon in three different courts.

“You can’t reason with the share values of 2001,” said Mussat. “In 1979, Lira films was worth less than nothing.”

Danon is asking for the cancellation of all transactions made after he sold his shares, which could influence all of the company’s other repurchase operations since 1981.