Court OKs check of Vivendi shareholder vote system

A Paris court approved Vivendi Universal SA’s request Thursday for an independent examination of the wireless voting system used at its shareholders’ meeting on April 24. The system may have been hacked and the outcome of the votes influenced, Vivendi said last week.

The Paris entertainment, publishing, environmental services and telecommunication conglomerate and two of its shareholders filed a joint petition with the Paris Commercial Court following the discovery that the electronic voting system had recorded an unusually high number of abstentions among the shareholders present at the meeting.

At the hearing on Thursday, the court noted problems with the recording of votes cast at the meeting, and agreed to Vivendi’s request that an independent expert examine the voting system to determine whether it was hacked at the meeting. Investigators will study a number of the voting terminals, a copy of the hard disk drive of the computer running the system, and the transmitter which communicated with the terminals. The equipment was placed under seal after the meeting by bailiffs charged with ensuring the fair conduct of the vote.

Vivendi announced last week that it plans to rerun votes on the 19 motions tabled at the shareholders’ meeting. Some of the largest shareholders present, including Compagnie de Saint-Gobain SA and Soci