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Court Denies Lauvergeon Bid to Probe of Areva UraMin Inquiry

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Feb. 29 (Bloomberg) -- A Paris court rejected a request by Areva SA’s former chief executive for an investigation into what prompted the world’s largest nuclear reactor builder to commission a report on the acquisition of UraMin Inc.

Anne Lauvergeon didn’t have “a legitimate reason” to request the probe, Areva said today in an e-mailed statement on the decision. The report “didn’t target Mrs. Lauvergeon. This study was meant to verify that the interests of the company hadn’t been harmed.”

Lauvergeon accused the company of commissioning the report on the buyout, done during her time as CEO, to find information that might damage her reputation. Her husband was spied on to see if he profited inappropriately from the 2007 acquisition of UraMin, a Canadian uranium miner, she claimed. Lauvergeon was denied a third term at the state-controlled company last year and replaced by Luc Oursel in June, two weeks before her contract expired.

Her lawyers didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on the decision. The ruling on the request is an interim measure while Lauvergeon pursues a broader case against the company, claiming she was undermined by other Areva employees.

Lauvergeon has also filed a criminal complaint over the spying allegations. Areva announced this month that an investigation ordered by its board into the UraMin acquisition found no evidence of fraud, though it did recommend greater oversight of such deals. The company has taken a 1.46 billion-euro ($2 billion) write down for 2011 on the value of UraMin.

To contact the reporter on this story: Heather Smith in Paris at hsmith26@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.

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