Bernard Tapie

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Bernard Tapie
Bernard Tapie 2012.JPG
Bernard Tapie (2012)
Minister of City Affairs
In office
26 December 1992 – 28 March 1993
PresidentFrançois Mitterrand
Prime MinisterPierre Bérégovoy
Preceded byFrançois Loncle
Succeeded bySimone Veil
In office
2 April 1992 – 23 May 1992
PresidentFrançois Mitterrand
Prime MinisterPierre Bérégovoy
Preceded byAndré Laignel
Succeeded byFrançois Loncle
Member of the National Assembly
In office
2 April 1993 – 5 September 1996
Preceded byYves Vidal
Succeeded byRoger Meï
ConstituencyBouches-du-Rhône 10
In office
22 January 1989 – 26 December 1992
Preceded byGuy Teissier
Succeeded byJean-Claude Chermann
ConstituencyBouches-du-Rhône 6
Personal details
Bernard Roger Tapie

(1943-01-26) 26 January 1943 (age 77)
Paris, France
Political partyRadical Party of the Left
Television presenter

Bernard Tapie (French pronunciation: ​[bɛʁnaʁ tapi]; born 26 January 1943) is a French businessman, politician and occasional actor, singer, and TV host. He was Minister of City Affairs in the government of Pierre Bérégovoy.

Life and career[edit]

Tapie was born in Paris. He is a businessman specializing in recovery for bankrupted companies, among which Adidas is the most famous (he owned Adidas from 1990 to 1993); and owner of sports teams: his cycling team La Vie Claire won the Tour de France twice – in 1985 and 1986 – and his football club Olympique de Marseille won the French championship four times in a row, and the Champions League in 1993.

La Vie Claire, one of Tapie's former businesses, is a chain of health product stores. It sponsored one of the strongest cycling teams of all time, La Vie Claire, which was founded after the 1983 European cycling season, when multiple Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault had acrimoniously broken away from the Renault-Elf-Gitane team that featured Hinault's much younger and newly crowned French Tour de France winner, Laurent Fignon. La Vie Claire was formed by Hinault after Hinault had experienced a falling-out with his long-time and highly successful team manager from Renault-Elf, Cyrille Guimard, in respect to which of the two French riders (and previously loyal team-mates) would lead the team in 1984 after Fignon's 1983 victory, a race in which Hinault had been unable to participate, due to tendonitis of his knee that had flared up during the 1983 Vuelta a España (Tour of Spain) that had been raced little over a month earlier and which Hinault had won. Following Hinault from the all-powerful Renault-Elf team to the newly formed La Vie Claire squad was Greg LeMond, who would himself end up winning three Tours de France with three different teams. Hinault and LeMond would soon win successive Tours with the La Vie Claire team after leaving Renault-Elf-Gitane, while both Fignon and Guimard would never win another Tour de France, as a cyclist and directeur sportif respectively, after 1984 (the closest that the two came to winning the Tour de France again was in 1989, when Lemond defeated their enduring alliance by a mere 8 seconds in the time-trial that was held on the final day of that Tour, which is still the closest ever winning margin in over 100 editions of the Tour and which closely followed Fignon's win that year in the Giro d'Italia, or Tour of Italy). Hinault had already formed a strong collective of primarily French riders almost immediately after his breakaway from Renault-Elf and Guimard, and before he had even secured the much-needed financial backing for his team from someone like Bernard Tapie.

From 1986 to 1994, he was the president of the Olympique de Marseille football club, which became Champion of France five times in a row (from 1989 to 1993) and won the 1992–93 UEFA Champions League.

In 1985, he bough the sailing ship "Club Mediterrannee" from the wife of disappeared French navigator Alain Colas. The boat was transported to Marseille, where Tapie had his football team, and restored for 2 years. It was renamed "Phocea" and was at that time the longest sailing ship in the world (225 feet). Tapie took command of it with a new crew in 1988 and broke the world record for crossing the Atlantic ocean.

Legal difficulties[edit]

In 1993, the same year that Olympique de Marseille won the Champions League, he was accused of fixing the match between his club and minor club Valenciennes; the motivation seemed to be that, in this way, he could save his best players for important matches and not waste their energy. His club was stripped of its French league championship, though not of the Champions League title, and later suffered a forced relegation to the second division because of this match fixing suspicion.

In 1994, Tapie was put under criminal investigation for complicity of corruption and witness tampering. After a high-profile case against public prosecutor Éric de Montgolfier, he was sentenced in 1995 by the Court of Appeals of Douai to 2 years in prison, including 8 months non-suspended and 3 years of deprivation of his civic rights.

From 1993 to 2008 there was a long legal battle between Tapie and the Crédit Lyonnais bank (state-owned bank). Crédit Lyonnais had defrauded Tapie in 1993 and 1994 when it sold Adidas on his behalf to Robert Louis-Dreyfus, apparently by arranging a larger sale with Dreyfus without Tapie's knowledge. A 600 millions francs (90 millions Euros) was granted in 1995 by French justice, and after appeal from Credit Lyonnais the Appeal Court increased the sanction to 150 million Euros in 2005. This ruling with partially dismissed in "Cassation" (the French equivalent of Supreme Court). In 2008 a special judicial panel ruled that Tapie should receive compensation of €404 million from the French Ministry of Finance, headed by Christine Lagarde. She decided not to challenge the ruling. On 3 December 2015, a French court ruled that Tapie should return this compensation with interest.[1] A few days later, the Court of Justice of the Republic ordered that Lagarde should stand trial for negligence.[2] On 19 December 2016, Lagarde was convicted of negligence; however, the conviction was not deemed a criminal record and Lagarde was not sentenced to a punishment.[3] In 2012 the new left wing French government announced they would challenge in courts the Arbitrage sentence ruled in favor of Tapie under the right wing Sarkozy government. After 4 years of new trials, the Arbitrage was canceled on the basis of a "suspected fraud" in the nomination and impartiality of 1 of the 3 judges who ruled in favor of Tapie. But in 2019, a criminal case conducted against Tapie and the suspected judged concluded that there was no fraud and the arbitrage was fully legal. The French authorities, supervised by the French government, appealed this decision. So after 26 years of proceedings, this legal battle is still on going.


Tapie made his fortune in the late 70's and 80's by acquiring bankrupt companies. The first company that he purchased were paper companies Duverger and Diguet-Denis. Later came larger companies such as Leclanché Wonder – a large producer of batteries. He later sold this company to Ucar. In 1990 Tapie purchased Adidas for nearly 1.6 billion francs. He took up a loan syndicated with a banking pool with a majority of foreign banks (German and Japanese banks for the main part), and in minority from French backers, in particular with the SdBO, the subsidiary of Crédit Lyonnais group hidden for several years. In this opportunity, the AGF, the UAP and Crédit Lyonnais entered the capital of the sporting brand. Adidas was nearly bankrupt when Tapie took it over. His five year plan saved the company, the major change being the marketing with the recruiting of Bob Strasser (former Chief of Design from Nike), and the change of image of the brand (the logo for example was changed, from the lotus flower to the more modern (and still current logo) three stripes triangle). Like Nike, manufacturing was largely moved to Asia, and the distribution network was completely redesigned. In 1995 Adidas was listed on the Stock Exchange for a valuation of 11 Billion francs, more than six times the price Tapie paid to acquire it. He subsequently had a number of legal difficulties associated with the sale of the company, conducted by the French state owned bank Credit Lyonnais, that was subsequently sanctioned for lack of loyalty (by not informing Tapie he could sell the company at a much higher price than Credit Lyonnais declared) and for breaching the obligation not to buy the company themselves (Credit Lyonnais used offshore companies to buy Adidas on their behalf but without declaring it). The Tapie group, through Bernard Tapie's son Laurent Tapie, who had created a successful company in the sportsbetting business that he sold in 2008 to Partouche Group (n.1 casino Group in Europe at that time), also tried to dabble in the online poker world when Laurent Tapie tried to acquire Full Tilt Poker. However, they were not able to negotiate a successful deal with the United States Department of Justice, and the deal fell through.[4]


In 1995, Tapie turned to artistic endeavors because he was unable to pursue his previous interests: he was personally bankrupt and therefore unable to pursue business ventures, he was declared ineligible to run for political office, and he was banned from football. The first thing he turned to was film. He starred, together with Fabrice Luchini, in Claude Lelouch's 1996 movie Hommes, femmes, mode d'emploi (Men, Women: A User's Manual).[5]

In 1998, he collaborated in a song by French artist Doc Gynéco, "C'est beau la vie." In 2000, he made his debuts as a theater actor, with great reviews from French critics, by impersonating Jack Nicholson's former role of Randle McMurphy in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest". In 2001, a documentary film was made titled Who is Bernard Tapie? by American filmmaker Marina Zenovich.[6] From 2001 to 2005 Tapie was the star actor of 4 other French theater plays, as well as the hero of a French TV serie "Valence" where he impersonated a Chief of Police.

In 2018 Tapie was diagnosed a double cancer (stomach and esophagus). He is being treated since then in France first and from 2020 in Belgium for an experimental treatment.

Credits[clarification needed][edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Anne-Sylvaine Chassany (3 December 2015). "Bernard Tapie ordered to repay €403m to French state". Financial Times. Retrieved 25 December 2016.
  2. ^ "IMF chief Lagarde to stand negligence trial in France". BBC. 17 December 2015. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  3. ^ "Christine Lagarde avoids jail, keeps job after guilty verdict in negligence trial". CBC News. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  4. ^ Bernard Tapie Biography
  5. ^ Hommes, femmes, mode d'emploi Archived 27 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine on IMDb
  6. ^ Who is Bernard Tapie? Archived 19 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine on IMDb

External links[edit]