French tribunal orders Bernard Tapie to repay €404 million

FRED DUFOUR / POOL MAXPPP OUT

(FILE) A file picture dated 01 July 2013 shows French businessman Bernard Tapie attending the French channel France 2 news evening broadcast in Paris, France. International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde has been charged with '"negligence' over a colossal state payout to a businessman when she was French finance minister. The case involves a 400-million-euro payout to businessman Bernard Tapie in 2008, to settle a long-running dispute over the sale of his sportswear company Adidas.

French tribunal orders Bernard Tapie to repay €404 million


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The French tycoon Bernard Tapie, 74, must repay the French taxpayer €404 million, RFI and France 24 report.

The former Francois Mitterrand economy minister and owner of Adidas lost an appeal on Thursday. The court of appeals upheld a 2015 ruling and is now calling Tapie to repay a massive 2008 award, in a case for which the former French Finance Minister, Christine Lagarde, has been found guilty of criminal negligence.

Tapie is bankrupt, but the state has seized €90 million in assets.

In 2008, the French state agreed to the shocking payout to Tapie. In doing so, the state conceded that Crédit Lyonnais, a state-owned bank, defrauded Tapie by undervaluing Adidas. In this version of the story, in 1993, Tapie was forced to sell Adidas to avoid conflict of interest while in government. The company was bought by a state-owned bank, Crédit Lyonnais, which sold the company one year later for a 100% premium.

Tapie went to Court feeling he was entitled to that premium. The court’s awarded him with €100 million, but Lagarde approved an out-of-court settlement that granted him four times that amount. Christine Lagarde, who was serving at the time as the finance minister of former President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Prosecutors later proved that that was an “inside job” case. In 2013, Tapie was accused of conspiring with one of the arbitrators and Lagarde’s chief of staff to defraud the state. In 2015, the businessman was ordered to return the money, and on Thursday a tribunal upheld the decision.

epa05672491 International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director and former Economy Minister Christine Lagarde appears in court at the Plais de Justice, in Paris, France, 12 December 2016. France's highest appeals court ordered on 22 July 2016 Lagarde to stand trial over a state payout to Bernard Tapie. Lagarde was charged for negligence over awarding more than 400 million euro during her time as economy minister in 2008. EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director and former Economy Minister Christine Lagarde appears in court at the Plais de Justice, in Paris, France, 12 December 2016. France’s highest appeals court ordered on 22 July 2016  Lagarde was charged (and convicted)  for negligence over awarding more than 400 million euro during her time as economy minister in 2008. EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

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