Jean-Marie Messier, erstwhile darling of the media and investment worlds, was on Tuesday fined €1 million ($1.34m; £690.5k) by French financial regulator, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers.

Kown to the French press in his glory days as J6M (Jean-Marie Messier, Moi Meme Maitre du Monde), the once unstoppable dealmaker and chairman/ceo of Vivendi Universal said he would appeal the fine imposed for misleading investors over the state of the group's finances prior to its near collapse in 2002.

Said the AMF: "Between October 2000 and April 2002, just as [the group's] financial troubles were increasing in line with its purchases, Mr Messier deliberately published incorrect and over-optimistic statements."

The penalty imposed on the once strutting transatlantic commuter follows a similar indictment by America's Securities and Exchange Commission which fined him $1m and slapped a ten-year ban on his holding office in a publicly-listed company.

Messier also faces a possible criminal prosecution by the French police.

Vivendi, as a corporate entity, was also deemed culpable of the same offence as its former chairman/ceo and fined the same amount. It has not said whether it will appeal.

  • Separately, Vivendi's current ceo Jean-Rene Fourtou - credited with the post-Messier resurrection of the near-bankrupt group - revealed he intends to step down in spring 2005 to become chairman of the company's newly created supervisory board. The chief executive's hotseat will pass to Fourtou's lieutenant, Jean-Bernard Levy.

    Data sourced from and Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff