Eva Joly, who will stand for the Greens in the 2012 presidential elections, is shown in this week's Gala magazine posing as an 18-year old in the Miss Norway beauty contest.

"/> Eva Joly, who will stand for the Greens in the 2012 presidential elections, is shown in this week's Gala magazine posing as an 18-year old in the Miss Norway beauty contest.

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Green candidate was Miss Norway runner-up

Eva Joly, who will stand for the Greens in the 2012 presidential elections, is shown in this week's Gala magazine posing as an 18-year old in the Miss Norway beauty contest.

Green candidate was Miss Norway runner-up
Marie-Lan Nguyen

In an exclusive interview with the weekly magazine, Joly explained how she entered the competition, in which she came second, “just for fun.”

Eva Joly is best known to the French as a campaigning magistrate against corruption who took on some of France’s biggest business interests during the 1990s as an investigating judge.

Joly was born Gro Eva Farseth in Oslo and moved to Paris when she was 20 to work as an au pair. 

“In Norway, after high school, lots of young people left to move abroad to discover the world,” she told the magazine. “Paris and the Parisians represented the new wave, a certain way of living and a culture that was rich and passionate. This was in contrast to the Norwegians who were more thrifty and lovers of nature.”

She married the older son of the family that employed her, a medical student, Pascal Joly, and used her middle name, Eva, as it was easier to pronounce in French.

“We moved into a tiny little maid’s room of just 14 metres squared, against his father’s advice,” she said. “It was the happiest period of my life. I was studying law in the evenings and earning a living from little jobs like dental assistant, typist and interior decorator.”

Joly became a magistrate at 38, joining the High Court of Paris as an investigating judge specializing in finance in 1990.

Some of the major corporate interests and personalities she went up against included oil company Elf Aquitaine, well-known business tycoon Bernard Tapie and the Crédit Lyonnais bank. She was subjected to death threats during some of her cases and won admiration for her courage.

Her husband, Pascal, committed suicide in 2001 and Joly left her job in 2002, returning to Norway to work as an advisor on a global anti-corruption and money laundering commission.

She stayed active in French life and was elected to the European Parliament for the Europe Ecologie party in 2009. Earlier in 2011 she won a primary contest to become the presidential candidate for the combined green movement in 2012.

On her role in French life, she said she no longer cares about her image.

“I’ve stopped fighting against the image people place on me and against the jokes about my accent and my beliefs,” she said. “What drives me is happiness. I do have a few vices: good wine, good food and fashion.”


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French tycoon Tapie tied up and beaten in burglary

Former French minister and scandal-ridden tycoon Bernard Tapie, once the owner of Adidas, was attacked along with his wife during a midnight burglary of their home, police said on Sunday.

French tycoon Tapie tied up and beaten in burglary
Police officers cordon off the area near the house of French businessman Bernard Tapie and his wife Dominique Tapie in Combs-la-Ville, southeastern suburbs of Paris. Photo: Stephane DE SAKUTIN / AFP

The couple were asleep when four men broke into the house in Combs-la-Ville near Paris around 00:30am on Sunday, beat them and tied them up with electrical cords before making off with their loot.

Dominique Tapie managed to free herself and made her way to a neighbour’s home, from where she called the police. Slightly injured from several blows to the face, she was taken to hospital for a check-up.

“She is doing well,” Tapie’s grandson Rodolphe Tapie told AFP.

During the burglary the perpetrators “pulled her by the hair because they wanted to know where the treasure was”, the mayor of Combs-La-Ville, Guy Geoffroy, told AFP. “But of course there was no treasure, and the fact that they didn’t find one only made the violence worse.”

READ ALSO: Paris museum to be renamed for ex French president

Jewellery and a Rolex

Tapie himself, who is 78, received a blow to the head with a club, prosecutor Beatrice Angelelli told AFP, but he declined to be taken into medical care.

“My grandfather refused to be taken away,” Rodolphe Tapie said. “He is shattered, very tired. He was sitting on a chair when he was hit with a club.”

The burglars broke into Tapie’s home, a vast estate known as the “Moulin de Breuil”, through a first-floor window, undetected by the guards.

They made off with two watches, including a Rolex, earrings, bracelets and a ring, according to a source close to the investigation.

Tapie was a Socialist minister who rose from humble beginnings to build a sporting and media empire, but later ran into a string of legal problems.

He made a fortune in the early part of his career by taking over failing companies in corporate raids, stripping them of their assets and selling them for profit during the high-rolling years of financial deregulation in France.

He often flaunted his wealth, including by buying a 72-metre yacht and a football club, Olympique de Marseille, which won the French championship while he was their owner.

He has also been under suspicion of match-fixing in France’s top football league.

He was briefly Minister for Urban Affairs in François Mitterrand’s government in 1992.

Many legal troubles

Tapie was found guilty in a series of cases for corruption, tax fraud and misuse of corporate assets, went to prison for five months and was stripped of the right to stand in any election in France.

After his release from prison in 1997, Tapie added showbiz to his various activities, trying his hand at acting, singing and hosting radio and TV shows.

In 2012, he also became a media boss, taking over southern French daily La Provence and other newspapers.

One fraud case has dogged Tapie for decades, involving a hugely controversial settlement worth 400 million euros ($470 million at current rates) awarded to him by a government arbitration panel, the size of which sent shockwaves through France.

READ ALSO: French tycoon Bernard Tapie’s assets frozen in fraud case

The panel judged he had been the victim of fraud when he sold his stake in the Adidas sports apparel company in 1993 to state-run French bank Crédit Lyonnais, which was found to have undervalued the sportswear brand.

‘Determined’ to stand trial

The case also ensnared then-Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, who now runs the European Central Bank. She was found guilty of “negligence”.

Lagarde’s handling of the case sparked suspicion that her former boss Nicolas Sarkozy, whom Tapie had backed for president in 2007, was favourably disposed towards the businessman – allegations Sarkozy has vehemently denied.

Last autumn, Tapie’s fraud trial was postponed for reasons of ill health because he was suffering a double stomach cancer and cancer of the oesophagus which were getting worse.

The trial is due to resume in May, with Tapie “determined” to be present, according to his lawyer.

Police are treating Sunday’s incident as a violent robbery and kidnapping, a source close to the investigation told AFP.