updated 6/22/2004 12:36:42 PM ET 2004-06-22T16:36:42

A French judge on Tuesday ordered former Vivendi Universal boss Jean-Marie Messier to remain in police custody for another day of questioning as the probe intensifies into alleged financial wrongdoing at the French media and telecommunications group.

Messier will be held until Wednesday after his detention was extended by 24 hours, a French court official said on condition of anonymity.

The former Vivendi chairman and CEO presented himself voluntarily to fraud police on Monday and was arrested for questioning over alleged share price manipulation and insider trading.

Messier’s lawyer, Olivier Metzner, said in a communique Monday that his client had brought with him a “certain number of documents” relating to the probe.

Police are believed to be examining a series of share buybacks conducted during Messier’s time as Vivendi chairman and CEO.

The company allegedly spent over 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) to prop up its own share price in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, and did so even while Messier was presenting financial results — a practice strictly forbidden by French market rules.

The small investors’ group that filed the original complaint against Messier said the buybacks amounted to share price manipulation by exceeding authorized volumes.

Messier and other former executives have said they carried out the operations with the full knowledge of France’s Financial Markets Authority, which is also under investigation.

Two Vivendi officials and a Deutsche Bank director were placed under formal investigation in March for their alleged roles in the buybacks, followed by Messier’s former CFO Guillaume Hannezo earlier this month.

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