Eclectic French tycoon Tapie, dies aged 78

  • Former chairman of Olympique de Marseille soccer membership
  • Also ex-government minister
  • Business profession hit by authorized issues
  • Sentenced to jail in 1995 for match-fixing

PARIS, Oct 3 (Reuters) – Bernard Tapie’s rags-to-riches life story of a failed pop singer-turned-tycoon who dabbed into politics, purchased a prime soccer membership and did a stint in jail transfixed France for many years.

He died on Sunday aged 78, having suffered from abdomen most cancers within the remaining years of his life.

Tapie was born in Paris in 1943, the son of a plumber, and pulled himself out of a poor suburban childhood to grow to be certainly one of France’s richest males and purchase Olympique de Marseille soccer membership in 1986 and sports activities retailer Adidas in 1990.

He revived the ailing membership to see it win its solely Champions League title and 5 French championships.

At the identical time, the solidly-built man with thick, darkish wavy hair entered politics, injecting a contact of charisma amid the grey-suited technocrats of French politics and touching a chord amongst younger folks and the working class.

He grabbed nationwide consideration in a no-punches-pulled debate with the then-leader of the far-right, Jean-Marie Le Pen, in 1989. That similar 12 months he was elected lawmaker for the primary time, the beginning of an ascent in the direction of the cupboard of Socialist President Francois Mitterrand’s authorities, the place he did two stints as minister for city areas in 1992-1993.

But issues began unravelling within the mid-Nineteen Nineties, when enterprise woes and judicial probes began piling up.

“I was rich, I am no longer. I was fashionable, I am no longer. I was president of a European championship team, I am no longer. I ran businesses, I no longer do so,” he informed Le Figaro each day in September 1995.

“Many French people have more to complain about than do I.”

In 1995, Tapie was sentenced to jail for match-fixing throughout his time on the helm of Olympique de Marseille.

Two years earlier, he bought Adidas in what grew to become the beginning of the longest and most advanced of the judicial sagas he was concerned in.

That Adidas saga had seen greater than 20 years of probes and rulings, with abrupt twists some in his favour, some in opposition to him. Tapie had claimed that when former French state financial institution Credit Lyonnais had bought the stake on his behalf, the financial institution had made a acquire at his expense.

The eclectic tycoon additionally tried his hand at being an actor, taking part in in a Claude Lelouch film in 1996, at a time when he had simply been declared bankrupt. And he grew to become a newspaper proprietor in 2012, shopping for southern French native newspapers.

Tapie additionally launched some pop data within the late Nineteen Sixties together with a 1985 tune known as “Reussir Sa Vie”.

Tapie arrange the La Vie Claire biking crew, and whereas he was nonetheless concerned the crew’s star cyclists Bernard Hinault and Greg LeMond gained the Tour de France in 1985 and 1986 respectively.

“When you’ve won the Tour de France, the Champions League, you’ve been minister, singer, actor … what have I not done? I can’t say I haven’t been spoiled rotten by life,” he informed Le Monde in an interview in 2017.

Editing by Richard Lough and Frances Kerry

French businessman Bernard Tapie adjusts his tie at the Justice court in Paris in this file photo October 19, 2005. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

French businesman and European election candidate Bernard Tapie delivers his speech at a campaign meeting, June 9, 1994. Tapie leads the Radical list

Bernard Tapie, the former chairman of the French soccer team Olympique de Marseille, answers questions during a press conference in Marseille, April 9, 2001. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier/File Photo