A French prosecutor is asking for a six-month suspended sentence and a €25,000 ($33,000) fine against Universal Music France chairman/CEO Pascal Negre.

LONDON -- A French prosecutor is asking for a six-month suspended sentence and a €25,000 ($33,000) fine against Universal Music France chairman/CEO Pascal Negre.

On Dec. 9, the prosecutor at an appellate court in Versailles near Paris accused Negre of being an accomplice in a tax evasion case involving Mercury-signed act Florent Pagny, one of France's best-selling recording artists.

The case is centered on a €1.5 million ($2 million) loan PolyGram, now Universal, says it made to Pagny in 1996. However, the French internal revenue services say that the sum was an advance on royalties, and therefore taxable.

The prosecutor requested an eight-month suspended sentence and a €25,000 ($33,00) fine for Pagny, who has been charged with failing to declare part of his income in the 1996/1997 tax year. In January, a court found Pagny guilty of tax evasion and decided on a six-month suspended sentence and a €15,000 ($20,000) fine.

At that time charges against Negre were discharged, a decision which the prosecutor appealed.

The appellate court will deliver its decision on Jan. 27.

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