IPR Enforcement Rapporteur made millions on IPR
The rapporteur of the EU Directive on the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights, Janelly Fourtou (UDF, Conservative, France), has earned millions from business related to Intellectual Property Rights, even while she was shepherding the report through the European Parliament. As several newspapers have investigated, Mrs. Fourtou runs a private fund together with her husband, Jean-René Fourtou, who is the CEO of Vivendi Universal, the media giant that is worldwide the biggest holder of intellectual property rights. In November 2002, this fund acquired transferable bonds worth 14,5 million Euro, which shall be transferred into Vivendi Universal shares at preference conditions in 2005. The Fourtou children have, according to the Financial Times, acquired bonds for an additional 5 million Euro. The Fourtou couple has until now made a computational surplus of 10 million Euro; their children 3,4 million Euro.
Mr. and Mrs. Fourtou are under investigation in France because there are allegations that the deal was made in contravention of rules against insider trading and share price manipulation.
When she filled out the “Declaration of financial interests” every MEP has to give, Mrs. Fourtou claimed she had ‘nothing to declare’. Now the Green MEP Heide Ruehle complained with the President of the European Parliament, Pat Cox, saying “Mrs Fourtou should never have been appointed rapporteur”. Any gains from their private fund, the Fourtous say, shall be used for an artist exchange programme between France and Morocco, where the couple has a house.
AFP ‘Vivendi chief Fourtou target of insider trading probe’ (15.05.2004) http://sg.biz.yahoo.com/040514/1/3ka6t.html
IHT ‘Fourtou defends foundation’s Vivendi bond purchase’ (17.05.2004) http://www.iht.com/articles/520190.html
FT ‘Vivendi chief investigated over bond purchase’ (15.05.2004, subscription) http://tinyurl.com/32jm5
Berliner Zeitung ‘Euro-Filz – die Interessen der Madame Fourtou’ (01.06.2004, in German) http://www.berlinonline.de/berliner-zeitung/archiv/.bin/dump.fcgi/2004/0601/wirtschaft/0006/index.html
(Contribution by Andreas Dietl, EDRI EU Affairs Manager)