Ex-tycoon Tapie chases French state over Adidas sale

12th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 12 (AFP) - Former French business tycoon Bernard Tapie is set for a court case against the French state over the way the former Credit Lyonnais bank disposed of the Adidas sportswear company, a source close to the matter told AFP on Tuesday.

PARIS, April 12 (AFP) - Former French business tycoon Bernard Tapie is set for a court case against the French state over the way the former Credit Lyonnais bank disposed of the Adidas sportswear company, a source close to the matter told AFP on Tuesday.

Attempts at mediation between Tapie and the state failed late on Monday before a deadline of April 12, the source said. The matter is now likely to come before the appeal court on June 8.

The dispute originates in the early 1990s when Tapie acquired Adidas with finance from the then state-owned Credit Lyonnais.

Tapie had risen to fame from modest beginnings to become a financier, owner of French football club Olympique de Marseille and briefly a minister.

He then fell on hard times and Credit Lyonnais acquired Adidas and sold it to another French financier Robert-Louis Dreyfus who turned the sports company into a top brand.

Credit Lyonnais which came close to bankruptcy, was saved by the French state and has since been privatised into Credit Agricole.

Problems left by Credit Lyonnais were taken over by a quasi-state body called the CDR and it is against this entity that minority shareholders in Bernard Tapie Finance (BTF) - essentially Bernard Tapie himself - are taking action.

Tapie, who has resurrected a career on stage, holds that the sale of Adidas deprived him of big capital gains and he is claiming damages.

A source close to the matter said: "A proposal under mediation involved the CDR abandoning EUR 100 million (USD 129 million) of debt owed by Tapie, but not the dropping of a tax bill of EUR 40 million. Tapie, who is personally bankrupt, wanted much more."

© AFP

Subject: French News

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