[QODLink]
Europe

French tycoon Tapie charged with fraud

Bernard Tapie officially placed under investigation in case that may implicate IMF chief Christine Lagarde.

Last Modified: 28 Jun 2013 17:16
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Tapie's lawyer said the charges were completely unfounded and claimed his client would be cleared [AFP]

Bernard Tapie, a French business tycoon, has been charged with fraud in the latest twist of a French corruption investigation threatening to embroil International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde.

After four days of interrogation in custody, Tapie, 70, was placed under formal investigation on Friday on suspicion of having committed fraud as part of an organised gang.

The charge, which allowed police to use special detention powers normally reserved for suspected terrorists or mafia, relates to a 400-million-euro state payout Tapie received in 2008 when Lagarde was France's finance minister.

Tapie's lawyer, Herve Temime, said the charges were completely unfounded and claimed his client was confident he would be completely cleared.

"I can assure you there is nothing in the file that shows the arbitration decision was the result of fraud, or of an organised conspiracy," the lawyer said.

Adidas sell off

The investigation centres on Lagarde's decision to ask a panel of judges to arbitrate in a dispute between Tapie and Credit Lyonnais, the collapsed, partly state-owned bank, over his 1993 sale of sports group Adidas.

Tapie had accused Credit Lyonnais of defrauding him by consciously undervaluing Adidas at the time of the sale and argued that the state, as the former principal shareholder in the bank, should compensate him.

The case against Tapie could damage ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy's ability to mount a comeback for the 2017 election.

Investigators are trying to determine whether close ties between members of Sarkozy's inner circle and Tapie influenced a 2007 government decision to turn to a private arbitration tribunal to settle a dispute with now-defunct bank Credit Lyonnais.

266

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Chinese scientists are designing a particle-smashing collider so massive it could encircle a city.
Critics say the government is going full-steam ahead on economic recovery at the expense of human rights.
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
President Poroshenko arrives in Washington on Thursday with money and military aid on his mind, analysts say.
Early players in private medicine often focused on volume over quality, turning many Chinese off for-profit care.
join our mailing list