NU Online News Service, Dec. 11, 2003, 6:57 p.m. EST – French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin has agreed to sign a $770 million settlement to resolve a dispute over the failure of Executive Life Insurance Company, Los Angeles, according to press reports.[@@]

Credit Lyonnais S.A., Paris, a French bank, acquired Executive Life in the early 1990s, around the time the insurer failed.

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer has filed a suit alleging that a Credit Lyonnais investment subsidiary used other companies to conceal the bank’s involvement in the acquisition of Executive Life and earning illegal profits on the insurer’s assets. At the time of the purchase, California law prevented banks from owning California insurance companies, according to the California attorney general’s office.

A draft agreement worked out in September called on Credit Lyonnais and a French government agency to fund a $575 million settlement, but French President Jacques Chirac backed away from the deal, arguing that it would cost the French government too much, according to press reports.