French tycoon and former politician Bernard Tapie dies at 78: report
French business mogul and former politician Bernard Tapie, whose larger-than-life career has been marked by a series of legal problems, has died at the age of 78 after a four-year battle with cancer, announced his family in a statement.
“Dominique Tapie and her family are extremely sad to announce the death of her husband and their father, Bernard Tapie, this Sunday,” they said in a statement to the newspaper La Provence in Marseille, in which Tapie was the majority shareholder .
One of his sons, StÃ©phane Tapie, confirmed his death with a post of “Goodbye my Phoenix” on Instagram.
“He left peacefully, surrounded by his wife, his children and grandchildren, who were at his bedside,” said the statement, specifying that he wished to be buried in Marseille, “the city of his heart”.
Tapie rose from humble beginnings in a difficult corner of Paris to become one of France’s most successful and high-profile businessmen, flaunting his wealth with an American flair.
He was the longtime president of Marseille football club, bought a cycling team and also found time to act, taking roles that included a police inspector on a popular TV show.
Tapie also dabbled in politics, becoming minister of urban affairs in the socialist government of FranÃ§ois Mitterrand in the 1990s and later a French and European deputy.
But his empire fell dramatically in the late 1990s, beginning with a match-fixing trial that saw him serve a prison sentence.
He was then sued for his purchase of German sports brand Adidas in 1990, which he was forced to sell a few years later to state-owned bank CrÃ©dit Lyonnais.
A court found him guilty of fraud over an arbitration settlement with the bank – he claimed he was cheated on the sale price – and an appeals court is due to render its decision on Wednesday.
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