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Summary:

We have often lauded Free.fr, one of France’s broadband miracle companies for its efforts to spread broadband to the masses. Never did we think we would be posting this: Xavier Niel, the chief executive of Free’s parent company, Iliad, was recently handed a suspended jail sentence […]

We have often lauded Free.fr, one of France’s broadband miracle companies for its efforts to spread broadband to the masses. Never did we think we would be posting this: Xavier Niel, the chief executive of Free’s parent company, Iliad, was recently handed a suspended jail sentence for embezzling funds from a sex shop that allegedly was a front for prostitution racket. The 39-year-old was fined $320,000 for embezzling 5000 euros per month in cash from the operation over a three year period.

While in France, Neuf Cegetel, the third largest broadband provider in France behind France Telecom and Free went public last week, with stock showing continued strength. The company is valued at around five billion euros. The company has also acquired AOL’s access business in France.

By Om Malik

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  1. What is a “suspended” jail sentence?

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  2. it is something special in france i guess. i am hoping one of the french readers would fill in the gaps here.

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  3. It is a jail sentence that becomes effective only if you are convicted again (for something else) in the future. It is called ‘sursis’.

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  4. huh ?? Sex, Drugs and Lies goes hand in gloves with the Internet.. !! :)-

    just like the enron email archived

    http://enron.trampolinesystems.com/search/FBI#focus=/search/password

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  5. Sex sells i guess!!

    ;))

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  6. sensational title does not do all:
    drug is absolutely not the matter here, you you should not have used this word. What’s the point to introduce randow choosen words to add spice to a news ? Just stick to the facts. That’s better for us all.

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  7. I’m gonna defend the headline, I’m afraid. A certain amount of poetic licence is surely allowed, and it’s a cliched-enough term that it’s obviously not supposed to be taken literally :)

    If only broadband were that exciting here in the UK. Maybe instead of bundling broadband with phone packages, the ISPs should consider bundling with adult goods?

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  8. Really not surprising actually (for a French techno-aware person): Illiad & Free is better known for setting a foot in the IT business with “Pink Minitel”: adult chat and ads on our very own ancestor of the big Web. That’s the best way, given the correlation between the tech-savvy population (young males), and those sensitive to a clip like “the Internet is for Pron”. All geeks and many of my relatives subscribe to Free, and any type I notice the dual-box modem at there place, I ask tongue-in-cheek: “You support por… — content-oriented media?” and everybody laughs because they know were the company comes from. Not sure after the recent trouble they wouldn’t prefer to head towards “100% Tubes”.

    Regarding the poetic license: “Sex, Drug and Rock-and-roll“, well, the relation between (all) ISPs and music through P2P networks is ambiguous too: they has been issues regarding advertisement promissnig “All the music you can listen”. Bad, bad boy. Whether ICT addiction makes it a drug, that’s up to the medical community to decide. However, “Sex, Lies and Video-on-Demand” would match better an entrepreneur who sits on the most advance VoD service on Earth. Just don’t click on the pink button when the kids are around.

    Disclaimer: I am paid by one of their competitor, hence I’m just bantering, and the only truth in that matter is judicial decision.

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  9. [...] on my list of things to do in Paris than seeing either the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower. He has a colorful – some would even say checkered — past. But that only seems to add to his maverick persona; he would fit in easily at any [...]

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