Bernard Tapie again in court: fifteen months after his release, the businessman is retried in Paris from Monday with five co-defendants in the arbitration case which granted him 403 million euros in 2008 and which was canceled in civil for “fraud”.
Although very weakened by a double cancer of the stomach and the esophagus, Bernard Tapie, 77, wants “Fully participate in the trial” on appeal and will be “Present” at its opening, Monday at 1:30 p.m., indicates his lawyer Hervé Temime.
→ ANALYSIS. Tapie case, the contradictions of justice in question
On July 9, 2019, the Paris Criminal Court pronounced a general acquittal in favor of the boss of the media group La Provence, the CEO of Orange Stéphane Richard and four other defendants prosecuted for “swindle” or complicity in this offense.
For the judges, “No item in the file” did not allow to affirm that the arbitration, supposed to settle an old dispute between Bernard Tapie and the Credit Lyonnais and which was definitively judged irregular by the civil justice, was the subject of “fraudulent maneuvers”.
The Paris prosecutor’s office, which considers that the arbitration was “rigged” and which had requested prison sentences against five of the six defendants, including five years firm against Bernard Tapie for “swindle” and “embezzlement of public funds”, had appealed.
The Court of Appeal must return for five weeks to this feuilletonsque case, which originated in the resale of German sports equipment manufacturer Adidas in the early 1990s.
→ CRITICAL. Bernard Tapie, man of power and sport
The first afternoon of the hearing should be entirely devoted to bitter procedural battles between the defense and the prosecution. Five people are retried alongside Bernard Tapie, twelve years after arbitration – a mode of private settlement – who had granted him 403 million euros, including 45 million for his moral damage alone, in compensation for the “fault »From Crédit Lyonnais when Adidas was sold.
Support at the Élysée
Bernard Tapie’s former lawyer, Maurice Lantourne, and one of the three umpires, Pierre Estoup, are also being prosecuted for “fraud”, suspected of having “rigged” the arbitration award in favor of the former boss of the Olympique de Marseille.
Stéphane Richard, chief of staff of the former Minister of the Economy Christine Lagarde at the material time, and the two former directors of the entities responsible for managing the liabilities of Crédit Lyonnais, Jean-François Rocchi and Bernard Scemama, are retried for “complicity”.
Bernard Tapie is accused of having activated his support at the Elysee Palace so that Sarkozy power chooses the arbitration route instead of a classic judicial resolution.
Then to be sure of the “partiality” of the high magistrate Pierre Estoup, principal draftsman of the arbitration sentence. Once the sentence is rendered, the former minister of Pierre Bérégovoy would have done everything so that Bercy does not initiate an appeal.
This lack of recourse earned Christine Lagarde, at the end of 2016, to be found guilty of “negligence” by the Court of Justice of the Republic, which however exempted her from punishment. She is currently the only person convicted in this case.