1/24/97 -- 7:03 PM


WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - A Delaware judge Friday gave former MGM studio owner Giancarlo Parretti two weeks to return voluntarily to the United States from Italy for sentencing on perjury and evidence tampering charges.

Delaware Superior Court Judge Richard Cooch made the decision after Parretti's Delaware lawyer, Eugene Maurer, said in a bail forfeiture hearing that arrangements were being made for his client's return.

Parretti failed to appear for a Jan. 6 sentencing hearing on charges that carried a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

A Delaware Chancery Court jury in November found Parretti guilty of the charges, which stemmed from a 1991 legal battle for control of MGM with the French government-owned bank Credit Lyonnais.

Before Friday's hearing, Deputy Attorney General Paul Wallace planned to ask that Parretti's $10,000 cash bail be forfeited.

During the hearing, Maurer told Cooch that Parretti's Los Angeles attorney, William Genego, was making arrangements for his client's return.

Wallace told the judge he would be willing to wait.

``We'll give him two weeks ... to put up or shut up,'' Wallace said. If Parretti does not return, ``we'll go full-steam ahead with the U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles to bring Mr. Parretti back,'' he said.

If he does not return, Parretti could also lose $100,000 bail secured by real estate in California. That bail was posted while he appealed a federal court ruling in Los Angeles that he be extradited to France to face charges of fraud and embezzlement related to his 1990 purchase of MGM with a $1.3 billion loan from Credit Lyonnais.

In a Jan. 3 fax, Parretti's Italian lawyer, Manlio Morcella, notified authorities that Parretti had returned to Italy because of an agreement with the Italian government that he would face tax charges there before being sentenced in any other jurisdiction.

It was not known how Parretti left the United States. His passport is still being held by the Los Angeles federal court.

Maurer said outside the courtroom that Parretti's Italian lawyer may have ``incorrectly'' advised Parretti that he ``was required to leave (the United States) because of commitments to the Italian courts to return to Italy.''

Maurer and Wallace agreed that was not a provision of Parretti's bail conditions in Delaware.

If Parretti returns before Feb. 7, a new sentencing date will be set, deputy attorney general Julie Flanigan said. If not, the Delaware bail forfeiture hearing will resume Feb. 7.

Parretti has a $3.9 billion lawsuit pending in California against Credit Lyonnais alleging the bank wrongfully conspired to take MGM away from him.

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