Jean-Marie Messier, the ousted former chairman/ceo of Vivendi Universal, is demanding his former employer hand over the €20.6 million ($23.78m; £14.38m) severance pay-off awarded to him earlier this week by the New York-based American Arbitration Association [WAMN: 01-Jul-03].

As well tell the French to serve GM food at La Tour D’Argent. “We will pay him nothing,” emoted Jean-René Fourtou, his successor at Vivendi, speaking to investors earlier this year; while the company declared this week that “all available legal actions” will be taken to ensure the former head honcho lays hands on not a single euro.

When the high profile tycoon was ejected last summer from Vivendi’s driving seat, it emerged that the mighty media group – arguably the world’s largest – was staring bankruptcy in the face.

But justifying his compensation claim to the Financial Times, Messier told the newspaper: “If three top arbitrators after six months, thousand of pages, dozen of hours of interviews and days of hearings are unanimously - including VU's arbitrator - awarding 100 per cent to one party they must have some reasons.”

In a subsequent email to the FT, Messier demanded that Vivendi should honour its signature on his compensation agreement.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff