Business Irish

Sunday 18 March 2018

The Punt: A film fright for Dominique Strauss-Kahn

Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn
Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn

Ah, the wrath of Kahn. Remember all the controversy surrounding French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn and his alleged dalliances?

Well, he's back in the spotlight again. Now the former IMF boss has instructed lawyers to sue the makers of a movie in which veteran French star Gerard Depardieu plays a sex addict who commits a sexual assault on a hotel maid.

'Welcome to New York' by Abel Ferrara, which had a private screening on the sidelines of the Cannes film festival at the weekend and has been on pay-per-view in France, is billed as a piece of fiction and comes with a legal disclaimer. But Mr Strauss-Kahn's lawyer said the film was defamatory in that its subject matter was similar to the accusations levelled against Mr Strauss-Kahn, who quit the IMF in 2011 after a New York hotel maid accused him of sexual assault.

Mr Strauss-Kahn settled a civil case taken by the maid after criminal charges were dropped.

"This happened three years ago and he was cleared," lawyer Jean Veil told French radio this week. "He is frightened, sickened (by the film). He has instructed his lawyers, myself, to make a complaint for defamation based on accusations of rape, on the insinuations made throughout this film."

What better way to raise it all again then by stirring up the legal eagles.

Chill in the air at Greencore

THERE was a chilly atmosphere among senior executives over at convenience food giant Greencore despite soaring sales and profits.

The company's top dogs decided it was time to ground themselves a little, and feel at one with the staff who work on their manufacturing lines worldwide day after day.

For over an hour in London chief executive Patrick Coveney and his chief financial officer Alan Williams presented the company's half yearly results to chairman Gary Kennedy and several employees, with investors, analysts and journalists tuning in via web cam and conference call.

"You won't quite recognise it if joining this by conference call, but we have tried to simulate, in so far as we can, what it's like to work in a chilled room facility," said Coveney, brother of Agriculture Minister Simon.

Luckily, the figures were a little warmer with the firm announcing a 14pc rise in profits to £37.2m (€43m) in the first half of the year, while revenues rose to £619.8m (€733m).

The Greencore boss was adamant it was not biting off more than it can chew despite acquisitions in the US, and a £30m (€35m) euro investment in the UK.

Unlike his CFO, who he said led a 15-course taster breakfast in the US where the firm recently unveiled a frozen food breakfast range.

In need of a woman's touch

THERE'S been some harsh words spoken on the airwaves across the water.

UK business secretary Vince Cable attacked Glencore Xstrata and said it is "simply not credible" that it cannot find women with the necessary qualifications to join its board. Branding it a disgrace, the politician hit out at the commodities trader because it is now the only firm in the FTSE 100 without a woman at the table.

"The company has had over three years to address this issue," warned Cable, who has met chief executive Ivan Glasenberg and now wants to hold talks with the firm's new chairman, Tony Hayward.

But the British commodities giant said it plans to appoint a woman to its board by the end of 2014.

A 2011 UK government review set the target of reaching 25pc of board members on FTSE 100 firms being female by 2015. At the time just 21 companies were without a woman on the board.

"We're now down to this last one," added Cable.

Irish Independent

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