French court seizes Tapie assets in fraud probe

French court seizes Tapie assets in fraud probe
French tycoon Bernard Tapie has had his assets seized by investigators probing a corruption and fraud scandal. Photo: Eurobas
French investigators have seized the significant assets of French businessman Bernard Tapie, implicated in a long-running corruption and fraud scandal, it was reported on Wednesday.

The charge relates to a €400 million ($525m) state payout Tapie received in 2008 when Christine Lagarde, now the head of the International Monetary Fund, was France's finance minister.

Lagarde was in charge of the arbitration process that led to the payout and investigators suspect Tapie received preferential treatment in return for his high-profile support for her boss, former President Nicolas Sarkozy.

French daily Le Monde reported that investigating magistrates had concluded that Tapie "appears to be one of the organisers of a swindle".

The court ordered the seizure of Tapie's assets on June 28th, Le Monde said.

The payout to Tapie, now 70, related to a dispute between the businessman and partly state-owned bank Credit Lyonnais over his 1993 sale of sportswear group Adidas.

Tapie claimed that Credit Lyonnais had defrauded him by intentionally undervaluing adidas at the time of the sale and that the state, as the bank's principal shareholder, should compensate him.

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