PARIS – A French court ruled on Thursday that businessman Bernard Tapie must return 404 million euros ($449 million) to the government, money he had received following the sale of the athletic brand Adidas to the bank Credit Lyonnais.
After buying Adidas off Frenchman Bernard Tapie, the bank was able to resell it with a much higher profit, prompting the businessman to demand compensation on the grounds that the operation had caused him economic and moral damages.
His lawsuit was bounced around public courts for several years before 2008, when it was dealt with in an out-of-court arbitration approved by the then French finance minister Christine Lagarde, who is now the head of the International Monetary Fund.
Tapie received 404 million euros in compensation, though in 2015, when he was first told to give the money back – a court decision that was also appealed – he claimed to have only received 285 million euros.
In Dec., Lagarde was found guilty by a French court of having committed negligence by allowing Tapie’s lawsuit to be dealt with by a private court, but judges referred to her international prestige when they decided to exempt her of any charges.
Tapie was the former owner of French football team Olympique de Marseille and several large companies and spent years involved in politics, serving as a member of Parliament for the Bouches-du-Rhone constituency and as minister of city affairs under former president François Mitterand.
He also made brief forays into acting and singing that were largely unsuccessful.