Dec 4, 2015
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Paris court rules against Tapie in high-stakes Adidas case

Dec 4, 2015

A French court dismissed tycoon Bernard Tapie's demand for more than a billion euros from the state over a disputed business deal on Thursday, ruling instead that he had to repay more than 400 million euros.

In the last chapter of a 20-year-old legal feud, a Paris appeals court said the 72-year-old had not been duped by his state bankers when he sold the Adidas sportswear firm in 1992 and thus was not entitled to compensation.

Bernard Tapie - AFP

On top of rejecting Tapie's demand for up to 1.2 billion euros ($1.30 billion), the court ordered him and his wife to repay 404 million euros he had received under a previous settlement that has since been struck down, a court statement said.

Tapie's lawyer, Emmanuel Gaillard, said all legal options would be studied to counter a ruling he described as a "denial of justice". French Finance Minister Michel Sapin welcomed the verdict.

The saga centred on claims by Tapie that he was hoodwinked by state-owned Credit Lyonnais bank, now defunct, into selling Adidas for far less than the amounts it subsequently fetched when resold and then floated on the stock market.

As the liabilities of the former Credit Lyonnais were parked in a state structure called the CDR, the case effectively became a battle between taxpayers and Tapie, who has been a football and media magnate as well as minister, actor and talk-show host.

Legal experts said it was possible Tapie could launch one last appeal in the country's highest court, but that such an appeal would not allow him to avoid having to honour the repayment ruling issued on Thursday.

A significant part of the sum could be raised by the sale of some of Tapie's assets, including a luxury Paris property and one in Saint-Tropez on the French Riviera that have already been legally seized.

$1 = 0.9258 euros


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