Banker on Macron Campaign Seeks Back Pay in Morgan Stanley Suit

  • Bernard Mourad is seeking $1.5 million he says he’s owed
  • Hearing took place days before Mourad joins Macron campaign

Bernard Mourad, a former Morgan Stanley banker who just joined Emmanuel Macron’s political campaign after a stint with telecom tycoon Patrick Drahi, is suing the lender for more than 1 million euros in deferred compensation.

The lawsuit, which was filed last year, was discussed at a Friday hearing in a Paris employment tribunal days before Mourad announced he was giving up various roles at Drahi’s telecom companies to join Macron. In a brief hearing Friday, punctuated by terse exchanges, Morgan Stanley lawyers said that Mourad’s resignation from the bank a year ago ended his right to the deferred pay.

In 2015, Mourad became chairman of Altice Media Group, which backs several news outlets such as French newspaper Liberation, after he quit Morgan Stanley. At the bank, he advised Drahi, who co-owns Altice Media, on deals, including the takeover that combined Drahi’s Numericable Group with fellow cable and wireless provider SFR.

“He resigned to join his best client, Patrick Drahi,” Francois Farmine, a lawyer for Morgan Stanley, said last week during the first hearing of the case. “Now, he wants 1.35 million euros ($1.5 million).”

Mourad said little at the Paris court but took offense at how Farmine described him as a big-shot French executive working in TV and radio.

“We’re not talking about defending the weak and the defenseless here,” Morgan Stanley’s lawyer said.

Outrageous

Mourad argued Friday that he was an employee at Altice, not an executive.

“To say in this forum that I’m one of the most important executives in France is totally outrageous,” Mourad said. “I don’t quite see what an ad hominem attack has to do with this procedure.”

Hugh Fraser, a spokesman for Morgan Stanley, declined to comment on the case, as did Mourad.

On Tuesday, Mourad resigned from his roles at Drahi companies, including SFR Group SA, to act as an unpaid adviser and fundraiser for Macron’s political movement “En Marche.”

Macron, Francois Hollande’s campaigning former economy minister, blasted French political parties on the same day for being at the center of the nation’s problems as he attempted to set out a diagnosis for the country where growth is lagging and discontent is simmering.

On Friday, after a heated exchange between Farmine and Mourad’s lawyer, Eric Manca, during the roll call of the day’s cases, Judge Christophe Dauphin decided to postpone the hearing in the Mourad case until July 3.

A Scene

Farmine and Manca argued over the bank’s request for further time to make extra submissions, prompting Dauphin to intervene.

“Enough. Enough, you don’t have the floor,” said Dauphin, who presided over a panel of four non-professional judges, as is typical in French employment cases. “If it’s to make a scene, I don’t see the point.”

After the bickering continued, he asked the parties to leave the hearing room.

“I’ve already told you twice: we’d like to finish the roll call quietly,” Dauphin said.

(Updates to add in second paragraph that lawsuit was filed last year.)

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