Saturday, June 29, 2013

 

French tycoon Bernard Tapie comes under investigation in fraud probe

PARIS, June 28 - Bernard Tapie, one of France's famous business figures, was placed under formal investigation on Friday on charges of using political influence to win a large state pay-out in 2008, the defence lawyer said.


After four-day-hearing, Paris prosecutors decided to place Tapie under formal investigation for "organized fraud" and put him on probation, according to his lawyer Herve Temime.

"I assure you that the file is void of evidence showing that the arbitration award, was the result of a scam," Temime was quoted by BFMTV as saying.

"It is with the greatest serenity that we approach this phase of the procedure," he added.

Flickr - europeanpeoplesparty - EPP Summit (35).jpg
ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy
The case went back to 1993 when Tapie, former minister and supporter of ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, sued the state for compensation after selling his stake in sports company Adidas to then state-owned bank Credit Lyonnais.

Tapie argued the bank, now the bank part of Credit Agricole, had defrauded him after it later resold his stake for a much higher sum.

In 2008, Christine Lagarde, then finance minister of France decided to use arbitration to handle a row that resulted in 400 million euros (520.73 million U.S. dollars) being paid to the businessman.

Last month, the International Monetary Fund chief was also questioned for two days about the payout to Tapie, but she was named an "assisted witness".

Meanwhile, her cabinet chief at the time, Stephane Richard, Orange CEO was placed under formal investigation for "organized fraud" as part of the corruption probe.


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