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French ex football tycoon Tapie probed for tax evasion

media Bernard Tapie, July 2013 Dufour / Reuters

French judges are investigating embattled business tycoon Bernard Tapie on charges of tax evasion, a judicial source said on Thursday.

The source said the probe was opened on 13 September following complaints filed by the French finance ministry.

Le Monde newspaper reported that the tax evasion probe relates to more than 15 million euros in income tax allegedly owed by Tapie and his wife for the period1989 -1991.

Tapie said he believed the probe was an "intimidation measure" and retribution after he filed a misappropriation complaint against the tax office pursuing him.

Tapie, 70 and one of France's most controversial businessmen, has previous convictions for tax fraud, misuse of company assets and false accounting, as well as for his role in a match-fixing scandal during his time in charge of Marseille football club.

He is facing separate charges of organised fraud linked with IMF chief Christine Lagarde, who was finance minister when Tapie received a 400 million euro state payout in 2008.

The payout was connected to a dispute between the businessman and partly state-owned bank Credit Lyonnais over his 1993 sale of sportswear group Adidas.



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