LOS ANGELES, May 13 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network — The Executive Life Action Network, (http://www.executivelife.org), an activist group of former Executive Life
Insurance Co. policyholders, today said the recent jury verdict that found the
holding company controlled by billionaire Francois Pinault guilty of
conspiracy provides an excellent opportunity to recover billions of dollars in
“The jury found that Artemis SA joined and participated in a conspiracy to
obtain the ELIC assets by fraud and that this conspiracy harmed the ELIC
estate. This is a crucial ruling for policyholders,” said Maureen Marr, an
ELAN co-founder and long-time policyholder activist. “According to the jury
instructions written by Judge Matz, Artemis is now liable for all acts
committed as part of the conspiracy, whether the acts occurred before or after
that defendant joined the conspiracy.”
Marr pointed out that Artemis was found to be part of a conspiracy
involving several admitted felons — including Credit Lyonnais and MAAF
“According to court filings, the potential damages attributable to all of
the involved parties could be in the billions of dollars not including any
punitive damages awarded by the jury. Artemis should be on the hook for all of
that,” she said.
Artemis, the major holding company for Pinault’s investment empire, owns
the Christie’s auction house, Chateau Latour and controls Pinault Printemps
Redoute, another Pinault holding company with stakes in major fashion houses
including Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.
“While the jury did not find sufficient grounds to convict Mr. Pinault, we
are extremely encouraged by the verdict overall which clearly showed that the
jury was convinced that Artemis had willfully and recklessly participated in a
scheme that harmed policyholders,” said Vince Watson, another ELAN co-founder
and father of Katie, an annuitant who suffered brain damage as an infant due
to hospital error.
Marr said that policyholders have launched a public campaign to encourage
Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi to push for a full recovery of
“The previously announced settlement with Credit Lyonnais was a travesty.
Now we have a very broad reaching conviction. The Commissioner should be
pushing for a recovery in the billions of dollars. Anything less is unjust,
unwarranted and totally unacceptable,” Marr said.
Marr also said that ELAN is exploring the possibility of having the
federal fines and penalties that were awarded to the Department of Justice and
Federal Reserve in 2003 transferred to the ELIC estate.
“Right now, there are over $200 million of penalties just sitting in
federal coffers as a result of this case. It seems only right that the funds
that were recovered from the prosecution of the ELIC fraud should be used to
recoup policyholders’ $4.5 billion of losses,” she said.
Marr and Watson will discuss these issues in a Media Conference Call at
10 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (1 p.m. EDT). Members of the press can
participate by dialing (212) 259-2200, Conference ID: 393288#. To view
additional documents that will be discussed during the conference call, the
media should go to http://www.executivelife.org.
About the Executive Life Network
The Executive Life Action Network website at http://www.executivelife.org
features a concise history of the case, court filings, and a reference library
including significant news coverage. Policyholders and beneficiaries are
encouraged to sign up for ELAN Alerts!, as well as to complete a brief
registration form. The network also provides a summary of ongoing phone, fax
and letter campaigns.
Contact: Vince Watson (480) 481-0535/home, (602) 363-5465/cell
Maureen Marr (212) 721-7001
Web Site: http://www.executivelife.org