6 juil. 2011

ECtHR: absence of re-establishment of access to proofs after resigning from CEO does not mean that the trial was unfair, Messier, 25041/07

Mr. Jean-Marie Messier, former CEO of Vivendi Universal and symbol of French capitalism, failed to convince the ECtHR that there was an unfair trial in his proceedings before the French Commission of Stake Exchange Operations, the Sanctions Commission of the Financial Markets Authority, etc. He was fined with € 500 000 for presenting “inexact, imprecise and insincere” (too optimistic) information on the financial health of the group to its shareholders and other market actors in 2000 – 2002 (§§ 7, 20), while being next door to bankruptcy.

The CEO resigned and therefore lost the access to the documents of the company, which amounted from his perspective to unfair trial, since he was unable to find the documents discharging him, and to access to the documents consisting of tens of thousands pages taken by authorities (§§ 36-38).

The ECtHR replied that:
  1. The documents he had not gotten access to had been impertinent for the case (§§ 58.2, 59).
  2. The former CEO didn’t explain to the ECtHR how the missing documents could contribute to his defense (§ 61.1).
  3. The former CEO could invite the authors of the missing documents as witnesses. This would help him better than the very documents (§ 61.2).

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