French businessman Bernard Tapie to face trial for embezzlement

Photo of French businessman Bernard Tapie to face trial for embezzlement
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Controversial former minister to be tried alongside current head of telecoms company Orange over €400m payout during Sarkozy administration

Bernard Tapie, the French businessman and former Socialist minister, is to stand trial for embezzlement and misuse of public funds alongside the current head of the French telecommunications company Orange, in the latest twist in a longrunning scandal over a huge taxpayer-funded payout of €400m (£350m).

In the soap opera of French political personalities, few are as colourful and controversial as Tapie, a rags-to-riches businessman who began as a failed popstar and wannabe racing driver, hosted TV shows, and became a minister under François Mitterrand. His ownership of Olympique de Marseille football club led to a jail sentence for match-fixing, before he reinvented himself as an actor and press baron, buying the newspaper La Provence.

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