French Businessman Bernard Tapie Indicted for Organized Fraud

Tapie Photo: commons.wikimedia.org/JJGeorges

Tapie
Photo: commons.wikimedia.org/JJGeorges

On Friday, June 29, french businessman and public figure, Bernard Tapie was indicted for organized fraud.  The charge comes after Tapie spent four days in custody during the investigation of arbitration he received in a 2008 lawsuit with the bank Crédit Lyonnais.  The arbitration of the case, which awarded Tapie an excess of 405 million euros, has been highly contested and controversial, especially at the political level.  However, all prior appeals of the case to administrative courts were rejected.

On Thursday, June 28, the group responsible for managing the liabilities of Credit Lyonnais, the Consortium de réalisation (CDR), confirmed that the Paris Court of Appeals had granted a judicial review of the 2008 arbitration.  The review was granted on the basis of Article 1491 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the legal document upon which French Civil Procedure is based.  The Article cited allows for judicial review of a case in the event that fraud is discovered in proceedings of the favored party (Tapie), specifically citing the discovery of false certificates, testimony, and oaths.

Forensic investigations by six judges were able to find evidence that the arbitration process was flawed, leading to the custody of Tapei and Maurice Lantourne, Tapie’s lawyer in the 2008 case.  After his release and receiving his indictment on Friday, Tapie’s new lawyer, Hervé Temime, commented that while “Bernard Tapie has just been indicted for organized fraud, I assure you that the record is void of evidence to show that the arbitration award, the result, is the fruit of a scam, a concerted plan.”  Tapie, who has now been placed under judicial supervision, retired to a location far from Paris.  He declared he would speak on Monday night regarding the charges against him.

The original 2008 case involved Credit Lyonnais’ selling of the Adidas Company, which Tapie owned, to Robert Louis-Dreyfus without Tapie’s knowledge, allegedly defrauding Tapie of funds throughout 1993 and 1994.  Despite the settlement of the case in 2008, awarding Mr. Tapie with 405 million euros, allegations and conspiracy have continued to revolve around the case.

Particular attention was drawn to Mr. Tapie regarding his political relationship with former French president Nicholas Sarkozy and the former Minister of Economy, Christine Lagrade, now head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  Tapie’s contact with the magistrate Pierre Estoup, a judge on the 2008 case who was put in custody in late May of 2013 for compromising his judicial impartiality, is also being brought into question.

Mr. Temime further commented that there is “nothing of political nature in [Tapie’s] relationship with Mr. Sarkozy.”  Furthermore, he says there is no “evidence to say that Mr. Tapie has been directly or indirectly associated with Mr. Estoup that could put his impartiality into question.”

Tapie’s reputation in the business world is a specialization in the recovery of bankrupt companies, one of which was the contested Adidas Corporation.  He has also owned numerous sports teams, including the La Vie Claire cycling team, which twice won the Tour de France under his ownership.  Tapie also served as president of the Olympique de Maseille soccer club from 1986 to 1994, during which the team won both the French Cup and the Champions League in 1993.

Trackbacks

  1. […] businessman and public figure Bernard Tapie was indicted for organized fraud.  The charge comes after Tapie spent four days in custody during the investigation of arbitration […]

Leave a Reply to A Week in France July 7: “Barroso was a Casting Mistake” – La Jeune Politique Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: