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Breaking News from CNBC's Kayla Tausche: Sticking Point Between Lasry & White House Said To Be France Investments

Monday, 29 Apr 2013 | 10:51 AM ET

WHEN: TODAY, FRIDAY, APRIL 26TH

WHERE: CNBC'S "CLOSING BELL"

Following is the unofficial transcript of breaking news from CNBC's Kayla Tausche. All references must be sourced to CNBC.

KAYLA TAUSCHE: MARIA, MUCH INK HAS BEEN DEVOTED TO THE CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING WHAT WAS EXPECTED TO BE A NOMINATION OF MARC LASRY, CHAIRMAN AND CEO OF AVENUE CAPITAL, TO THE POST OF US AMBASSADOR TO FRANCE.

MY SOURCES TELL ME THE LARGEST CONTRIBUTOR TO LASRY'S WITHDRAWL FROM CONSIDERATION EARLY THIS WEEK - WAS THE HARD BARGAIN THE WHITE HOUSE WAS DRIVING OVER LASRY'S STAKE IN AVENUE - AND ITS INVESTMENTS IN FRANCE, IN PARTICULAR.

THE WHITE HOUSE WAS SAID TO ASK LASRY TO DIVEST OF HIS MAJORITY STAKE IN AVENUE, WHICH MANAGES $11.5 BILLION. FURTHERMORE, SOURCES SAID THE WHITE HOUSE WAS REQUIRING THE FIRM TO SELL ALL OF ITS POSITIONS IN FRANCE – WHICH I'M TOLD VALUE ROUGHLY $400 MILLION WORTH - REGARDLESS OF THEIR CURRENT VALUE.

THAT STANCE APPEARS TO BE STRICTER THAN PAST ADMINISTRATIONS. TRADITIONALLY THE WHITE HOUSE HAS ALLOWED SOME WEALTHY AMBASSADORS TO PLACE THEIR ASSETS IN A BLIND TRUST. THAT WAY THEY WOULDN'T BE FORCED TO SELL THEM AT A FIRE SALE - AS LONG AS THEY DIDN'T CONTROL THE INVESTMENTS.

AS DETAILED BY THE NEW YORK POST TODAY, THE SOCIAL CONNECTIONS BETWEEN LASRY AND A POKER RING - NOW ALLEGED TO INCLUDE TWO MEN INVOLVED IN MONEY LAUNDERING - PROVED TO BE THE LAST STRAW IN NEGOTIATIONS THAT HAD ALREADY REACHED A STANDSTILL.

I'M TOLD BY SOURCES LASRY HAS NOT BEEN CONTACTED BY THE F-B-I - NOR ASSOCIATED WITH THE CRIME COMMITTED AND THAT THEY HAD ALREADY REACHED A STAND STILL OVER THIS VERY STRICT POLICY REGARDING AVENUES INVESTMENTS IN FRANCE.


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