The Stanislaus County Insider
Veolia Water: Corruption and a Corporate Takeover.
In 1853, a French water company named Compagnie Generale des Eaux was created. In 1854, CGE obtained the right to supply water
to the public. For more than a century, Compagnie Générale des Eaux remained focused on the water sector.
In 1998, Compagnie
Générale des Eaux changed its name to Vivendi. In July 2000, Vivendi spun off its newly acquired water companies into Vivendi Environment.
In December 2000, Vivendi Universal SA was created by the merger of the Vivendi media empire (In the early 1950s, Universal set up
its own distribution company in France, and subsequently started a production company in Paris called Universal Productions France
S.A.), with Canal+Group, television networks and the acquisition of media assets owned by Canadian company Seagram Company LTD-
the owner of Universal Studios.
Vivendi is a mass media and telecommunications company headquartered in Paris France. The company owns an astonishing array of brand
name companies including hundred’s of individual record labels, and has a presence in dozens of countries around the world, inlcuding
Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, China and the US.
Vivendi holdings include some big names:
4. Universal Music Group which is the world leader in recorded music, music publishing and merchandising, with more than
50 labels covering all genres. Vivendi SA owns a separate division called Vivendi Village that sells tickets in the UK and the US.
5. Watchever- subscription video on demand.
6. Radionomy - digital radio.
7. Dailymotion one of the biggest video content distribution
platforms in the world.
8. Activision Blizzard is a subsidiary created by the merger of Vivendi and Activision creating Activision
Blizzard, they are the largest video game company in the world.
9. Canal+ Group- the leading pay TV operator in France and also serves
markets in Africa, Poland and Vietnam. Canal+ Group operations include Studio canal, a leading European player in the production,
sale and distribution of films and TV series.
10. Veolia Water.
One thing is for sure, Vivendi doesn’t play by the rules. SEC investigations
proved Vivendi and CEO Jean-Marie Messier misled
investors about a financial crisis in the company.Authorities investigated allegations that Messier misled investors by issuing a
statement denying that Vivendi faced liquidity problems. Messier paid a $1 million dollar fine, while Vivendi was found guilty
57 counts of violating U.S. securities laws and ordered to pay $50 million. Alain Maetz, a senior manager in Vivendi’s water division
in Milan was convicted for bribery
and received a prison sentence of one year and eight months. Vivendi have come under scrutiny in
a host of criminal and civil cases, with accusations that include bribery of public officials, illegal political contributions, kickbacks,
price fixing, operating cartels and fraudulent accounting. Vivendi has close ties to the French government; the water companies appear
to be crucial sources of income for the political parties.
Vivendi spent $77 billion over three years to transform a water utility
into a giant media company with assets that include Universal's movie studio, theme parks and leading music labels.
Vivendi Environment became Veolia Environment and the name “Veolia” was established as an umbrella brand for all of the Group’s divisions
(water, environmental services, energy services and transport). Vivendi adopted the Veolia name across its businesses. Veolia Water
is the largest privately owned water company in the world.
Veolia has a big presence in California and if you trust them, you
shouldn’t. Veolia has a long and sordid history of corruption and fraud, and they are attempting to privatize our water. The
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection fined Veolia ES Solid Waste of PA Inc. more than $11,200 for residual and municipal
Veolia admitted to accounting fraud. The accounting fraud
took place in the company’s U.S. Marine services business.
Veolia was accused of large scale corruption in Romania, after it’s local subsidiary bribed officials to approve higher prices
it’s services, including water.