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Federal Appeals Court Frees Former MGM Chief Parretti

From Reuters

Former MGM studio chief Giancarlo Parretti, arrested last month on a French extradition request, has been freed by a U.S. federal appeals court that ruled his continued detention might violate his constitutional rights.

His lawyer, Jay Coggan, said Friday that Parretti was freed Wednesday and spent the Thanksgiving holiday with his family.

There were no bail conditions set for his release after 35 days in detention, Coggan told Reuters.

Parretti, who was born in Italy and headed MGM in 1990 and ’91, had been denied bail on Oct. 23 by a federal magistrate who ruled he could not be freed pending the request from Paris to extradite him, alleging that he misused company assets. Paris still has not formally filed for extradition, the lawyer said.

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Parretti had been arrested while giving a deposition at the Los Angeles office of a law firm representing the French bank Credit Lyonnais, which is involved in civil litigation with Parretti over his ouster as head of Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer, which the bank owns.

Parretti has sued MGM and Credit Lyonnais for $3.9 billion under racketeering laws, alleging that they conspired to wrest control of the studio from him.

Coggan said Parretti’s deposition in that case will resume Dec. 5.

The three-judge appeals panel rejected the government’s contention that the arrest warrant issued by a French magistrate was sufficient probable cause to hold Parretti. The government was unable to show that the evidence offered by the French would satisfy U.S. requirements, the judges ruled.

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They also found that Parretti, who lives in Rome, was not a risk to flee the United States.

Parretti, 53, entered the United States voluntarily last month for the first time in four years to face criminal charges of perjury in Delaware arising from a 1991 trial. He pleaded not guilty, was granted bail and flew to Los Angeles to pursue his suit against MGM, where he was arrested.

The French government alleges Parretti misused assets of a French company associated with MGM while he was in control, in order to benefit other companies in which he had an interest.

France has no extradition treaty with Italy.

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Credit Lyonnais’ Bank Nederland division financed Parretti’s $1.3-billion buyout of MGM from fiancier Kirk Kerkorian in 1990 but later claimed he mismanaged the movie studio.


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