France’s Court of Cassation has ruled on Thursday, May 18, that businessman Bernard Tapie repay the €404 million originally given to him in 2008 by a tribunal of arbitration to settle his dispute with Credit Lyonnais on the sale of Adidas.
The case has raised serious questions about the probity of a number of top government officials, including Christine Lagarde, now Managing Director of the IMF, who was finance minister at the time.
Tapie, 74, is well known in the South of France, having been owner of Olympique Marseille football club before becoming the owner of La Provence daily newspaper. The magnate has a fondness for the printed press, and was recently involved in the ownership of the Nice Matin Group – publishers of Monaco Matin – alongside an employees’ collective.
He has specialised, during a colourful career, in the rescue of near-bankrupt businesses. He served as Minister of City Affairs under President Mitterand from December 1992 until March 1993. During his time in football, he was accused of match fixing. In 1995 he was sentenced to two years in jail, including eight months non-suspended. In 1996 he starred in Claude Lelouch’s movie Men, Women, A User’s Manual.