Areva Ex-Chief Lauvergeon Says She Was ‘Slandered, Spied Upon’

Anne Lauvergeon defended her record as chief executive officer of Areva SA and said the nuclear-fuel manufacturer spied on her and didn’t pay what they owed her after not renewing her contract seven months ago.

“I have been attacked, slandered and spied upon,” Lauvergeon said yesterday at a Paris press conference. “I don’t want a war; I want to turn the page. But I’ve had enough.”

Lauvergeon filed a criminal complaint in Paris against unidentified persons in December after seeing a report by private investigators of her and her husband’s movements and communications. She filed a suit on Jan. 11 against Areva, asking the Paris commercial court to order the state-controlled company to honor a 1.06 million-euro ($1.35 million) departure payment and 440,000 euros for a non-compete clause.

Lauvergeon was denied a third term weeks before her contract expired in June, when the government replaced her with Luc Oursel, Areva’s head of marketing. French authorities are investigating Areva’s $2.5 billion purchase of Canadian uranium mining company UraMin in 2007 after the Paris-based manufacturer forecast an operating loss for 2011 in December because of asset writedowns on mining projects and plant closures in response to the nuclear accident in Japan last year.

Awaiting Auditors’ Report

Areva’s board “decided to suspend the payment as it hadn’t yet received the report of three independent auditors” looking into the UraMin deal, Patricia Marie, a spokeswoman for Areva, said today. That report is expected by the end of February, she said. Areva is cooperating with the investigation into the spying claims, Marie said.

The French company, the world’s biggest supplier of nuclear fuel and services, paid a “normal” price for UraMin, Lauvergeon said yesterday. Areva had been searching since 2005 for a company to buy to secure access to uranium.

The acquisition was reviewed by law firms, auditors and the government undertook “a very significant analysis” of the decision as well, Lauvergeon said.

A hearing on Lauvergeon’s complaint regarding her pay is scheduled for Feb. 3.

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