Vivendi shares fell by a third after a report in national newspaper Le Monde alleged the company tried to flatter its 2001 accounts by as much as Euro 1.5bn (£1bn).
The newspaper reported how French regulators prevented Vivendi from ‘massaging’ its figures. It refers to an October 2001 transaction when Vivendi tried to avoid booking a Euro 1.5bn loan transaction that resulted from a deal involving the sale of BskyB shares.
The report claims Vivendi instructed its auditors, Andersen (bought by Ernst & Young France in April), to book the transaction in such a way that it allowed the group to stay in profit, but that after several meetings with regulators, the media company was forced to back down.
Le Monde also raised concerns over the accuracy of accounting at the company, adding to jitters over the company’s financial shape after credit rating agency Moody’s downgraded its debt to junk status.
Vivendi could not be reached for immediate comment.
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