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U.S. Mogul’s Trial in France Begins

November 7, 2002

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PARIS (AP) _ American billionaire investor George Soros was at the beginning of a trial Thursday in which he and three others were being tried for their alleged roles a 14-year-old insider-trading case, one of the biggest financial scandals to hit France.

Soros went to the Paris Criminal Court for the trial in which he and other businessmen are accused of buying up stock in French bank Societe Generale before a failed takeover that pushed up the price.

Soros is one of four defendants left of 11 people who were placed under formal investigation. The others had charges against them dismissed by a French judge. Two other businessmen implicated in the scandal _ Edward Safra and Robert Maxwell _ have died.

The other three defendants are Jean-Charles Naouri, former head of the office of then-Finance Minister Pierre Beregovoy; Lebanese businessman Samir Traboulsi; and former French banker Jean-Pierre Peyraud.

They are suspected of having benefited from privileged information during an operation to try to buy up part of the capital of Societe Generale, which was privatized in 1987.

The trial is expected to last three weeks.

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