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France

Tapie loses final appeal on Adidas sale cash

media Bernard Tapie in 2013 Reuters

French businessman and politician Bernard Tapie has lost his final appeal against returning a 404-million-euro government payout in a case that led to IMF chief Christine Lagarde being found guilty of negligence but not punished.

Tapie's lawyers on Monday informed him that he had lost his final appeal in the case that has dragged on for two decades.

The former chairman of Olympique Marseille football club was awarded the money in 2008 by an arbitration panel that found he had been the victim of fraud in his dealings with the state-owned Crédit Lyonnais bank in 1993.

In February of that year he mandated the bank to sell the Adidas sportswear company for 315.5 million euros.

Crédit Lyonnais sold it a few months later for 701 million euros and Tapie argued that it had deliberately undervalued the company when it accepted the mandate.

In 2015 the award was annulled because of Tapie's association with one of the arbitrators.

It also emerged that Lagarde, who was President Nicolas Sarkozy's finance minister at the time, declined to contest the award.

In December a special Paris court charged with handling cases against ministers, found her guilty of negligence but did not impose any penalty.

Tapie, who had been a minister under Socialist President François Mitterrand had backed Sarkozy in the preceding election campaign.

Tapie's lawyer, Hervé Temime, on Monday said his team would continue to highlight alleged preocedural flaws.

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