Bernard Tapie, scandal-ridden French tycoon, dead at 78

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Bernard Tapie, a French tycoon who was awaiting trial on fraud charges and the former owner of Adidas, died on Sunday at 78 years old.

Tapie, a former Socialist minister who built a sporting and media empire before running into legal trouble, had been battling stomach cancer for several years.

President Emmanuel Macron expressed his condolences to Tapie’s family, saying he and his wife “have been touched by the news of the death of Bernard Tapie, whose ambition, energy and enthusiasm were a source of inspiration for generations of French people.”

Tapie’s business interests spanned from being the former owner of the football club Olympique de Marseille, which he led to a championship in 1993, to a stint acting and hosting gigs on TV and radio.

But his career was plagued by scandal.

Bernard Tapie was a former Socialist minister and built a sporting and media empire.Charles Platiau/REUTERS

Berfore his death, Bernard Tapie was facing a criminal trial over a fraudulent 404 million-euro arbitration package linked to his sale of Adidas. Pascal Baril/Abaca/Sipa USA via AP

Tapie was found guilty in 1995 for corruption, tax fraud and misuse of corporate assets. He spent five months behind bars and was prohibited from standing in any French election. 

At the time of his death, he was facing a criminal trial over a fraudulent 404 million-euro ($450 million today) arbitration package linked to his sale of Adidas in the 1990s.

With Post wires