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Perjury Trial Begins for Ex-MGM Chief Parretti

September 13, 1996|From Associated Press

WILMINGTON, Del. — Former MGM head Giancarlo Parretti went on trial Thursday on perjury and evidence-tampering charges stemming from the 1991 trial in which he lost control of the famed Hollywood studio.

The Italian financier is charged with knowing of the alteration of a significant piece of evidence in a 1991 legal dispute with the French bank that financed his purchase of MGM.

Credit Lyonnais financed Parretti's $1.3-billion purchase of MGM in 1990. But the next year the bank had him removed as the studio's head.

During the 1991 trial in Delaware, Parretti claimed a facsimile he had received from Credit Lyonnais showed he had acted properly in his dealings with the bank. The bank contended it did not send the fax, which said Parretti could remain in command of the studio if he agreed to certain terms.

Prosecutor Paul Wallace said there is no evidence to show Parretti altered the fax. But prosecutors believe he knew it was false.

"It was a cut-and-paste job," Wallace said.

"It was false, physical evidence. It was a fake," he said.

Eugene Maurer Jr., an attorney for Parretti, told the jury there was no dispute that the tag line was altered. But Maurer said his client never knew it had been altered.

Parretti has filed a $3.9-billion lawsuit in California against Credit Lyonnais Bank Nederland, a Dutch affiliate of France's state-owned Credit Lyonnais, for allegedly conspiring to take MGM away from him.

That trial is expected to start in March 1997 in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

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