PARIS — French investigators moved toward prosecuting former Vivendi Universal Chairman Jean-Marie Messier, placing him under formal investigation today for suspected financial wrongdoing, his lawyer said.
Magistrates notified Messier that he was being investigated -- a step short of formal charges -- at a hearing that lasted into the early hours of this morning, lawyer Olivier Metzner said. Messier was then released from custody.
Messier had been held in custody since Monday. Police questioned him as part of a probe into allegations of insider trading, share price manipulation, publication of misleading information and misusing company funds when he was head of the French media and telecom group.
Messier was put under investigation on all those allegations, except for insider trading. Officials also ordered him to pay a $1.62-million judicial guarantee and required him not to talk to several others involved in the case, the lawyer said.