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Roger-Patrice Pelat; Mitterrand Friend Accused of Insider Trading

From Staff and Wire Reports

Roger-Patrice Pelat died Tuesday in a hospital near here, three weeks after he was charged in an insider trading scandal that has embarrassed France’s Socialist government. He was 70.

A longtime friend of French President Francois Mitterrand, Pelat was admitted to the American Hospital in the Paris suburb of Neuilly on Feb. 27 suffering from a pulmonary embolism and died of a heart attack, a spokeswoman said.

The French news agency Agence France-Presse said Mitterrand, who had known Pelat since their days together in a German World War II prisoner of war camp, visited the hospital after hearing of Pelat’s death.

Last month, Mitterrand defended Pelat on national television as a man of courage and integrity but said if Pelat were found guilty of an offense, “then in my role as President I would not be able to maintain the same kind of friendship I have had with him for so long.”

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Pelat and five others have been charged with receiving insider information that allowed them to buy shares of the U.S. packaging company Triangle Industries Inc. shortly before the French-owned aluminum manufacturer Picheney offered a much higher price last year in a successful takeover.

Pelat and his family sold their shares after the price soared, making a profit of about $350,000.


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