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Areva’s Uramin Acquisition: Anne Lauvergeon Charged with Obstruction

Areva’s Uramin Acquisition: Anne Lauvergeon Charged with Obstruction

Areva’s Uramin Acquisition: Anne Lauvergeon Charged with Obstruction

Former Areva chief Anne Lauvergeon was charged on May 16 with obstructing the accounting aspect of a court case over the 2007 takeover of mining company Uramin, sources close to the case and the judiciary reported to Agence France-Presse on Tuesday.

“This additional indictment (…) is a new illustration of the judicial errors in this case from 15 years ago,” said Me Fanny Colin, Anne Lauvergeon’s lawyer, denouncing the “multiple inconsistencies” in the case and the “irreparable contradiction that establishes the absurdity of the charge brought.

Six years of appeal

This new conviction comes after six years of appeal to the investigative chamber of the Paris Court of Appeal and the Court of Cassation, following disagreements in the reading of the case by the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) and the investigating judges. In this so-called accounting case, the former CEO (2001-2010) of Areva (now Orano) had already been prosecuted for inaccurate reporting and dissemination of misleading information.

Since 2015, two judicial investigations have been opened into the takeover of Uramin: one into fraud and corruption during the acquisition, and the other into the provisions recorded by Areva.

The court information was revealed almost ten years ago

Atomic Anne and other former officials at the nuclear giant are suspected of filing inaccurate reports to hide the falling value of Uramin. The Canadian mining company, which owns three uranium deposits in Africa, was bought by Areva for €1.8 billion in 2007.

However, the uranium content was lower than expected, and the company encountered difficulties in exploiting the deposits. The result: Areva was forced to spend heavily in 2011, a few months after Anne Lauvergeon left office after Nicolas Sarkozy ousted her.

In 2017, the investigating judges said they were closing the accounting aspect, but the PNF requested additional prosecutions, in particular for obstructing the auditors’ mission. It believed that officials had concealed important information in order to obtain confirmation of the group’s accounts. After a legal battle, in June 2022 the investigating chamber ruled in favor of the PNF, and the following year the Court of Cassation rejected the defense’s appeals.

Thus, between January and May, the investigating judge in charge of the case executed the indictments requested against Anne Lauvergeon, her right-hand man at the time, Gérard Arbola, Sébastien de Montessus, the former manager of the mining subsidiary, its financial director Nicolas Nouveau and Alain-Pierre Reynaud, the former financial director of the group. Only the former director of the financial department escaped prosecution: the magistrate considered that there was insufficient evidence against him, according to his lawyer, Mr Martin Reynaud, and a judicial source.

After record losses and job cuts, the giant Areva was restructured and its operations were split into several companies.

Source: Le Parisien

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