Bernard Tapie: Scandal-ridden French tycoon and ex-minister dies aged 78

Former French minister and tycoon Bernard Tapie has died of cancer at the age of 78, his family told La Provence Press Group, which he owned. He …

Former French minister and tycoon Bernard Tapie has died of cancer at the age of 78, his family told La Provence Press Group, which he owned.

He was briefly a Socialist minister under President Mitterrand in the early 1990s, building a sports and media empire, but was known for a series of scandals and legal problems.

He enjoyed success as owner of the Olympique de Marseille soccer club, when the club won the French championship in 1993 and later the Champions League. Soon after, however, allegations of match-fixing surfaced, with Tapie at the center of the suspicion.

The flamboyant businessman was jailed for six months after being convicted in 1995 of corruption, tax fraud and misuse of company assets. He was also barred from running for public office.

In a long-running fraud case, Tapie was awarded a 400 million euro settlement by a government panel over the sale of his shares in Adidas to the Credit Lyonnais bank. Christine Lagarde, then finance minister, was implicated in the case and found guilty of negligence.

In 2017, Tapie was ordered by a court to pay back the money, but won an appeal two years later.

Earlier this year, a fraud case was dropped because of his illness.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex paid tribute to Bernard Tapie on Sunday, describing him as a “fighter for his ideas, his convictions” and someone who had “always been very committed to opposing the extreme right.”

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