Virgin's Branson says French minister asked him for bribe
Richard Branson tells French monthly business magazine that an unnamed minister asked for a bribe to get permission for store Virgin Megastore opening.
27 June 2008
FRANCE - Richard Branson said in an interview that a French government minister asked for a one-million-euro (1.6-million-dollar) bribe to get permission for his Virgin Megastore to open on Sundays on the Champs Elysees in Paris.
"One of your ministers asked me at the time for a bribe of one million EUR to back my case but I refused," the British mogul told the French monthly Capital business magazine, without naming the minister.
In the early 1990s Virgin, whose megastores sell films, music and books was fined for repeatedly breaking the ban on Sunday opening. In December 1993 a new law was passed allowing shops selling cultural goods to open on Sundays, a day on which nearly all other large stores are still banned from opening in France.
Branson told Capital that "I took the affair to the highest authorities. "I was advised to not to make it public and to wait until the next ministerial reshuffle. A few months later, I won my case," he said, referring to the new law.