Former Prospective Full Tilt Buyer Bernard Tapie has Assets seized

by Jeremy Olson

French businessman Bernard Tapie gained recognition throughout the poker world for his company’s failed attempt to buy Full Tilt Poker. He also attempted to run a 30,000-player poker tournament at England’s Wembley Stadium, which was another failure.

It doesn’t appear as if Tapie is doing much better away from poker these days since French prosecutors have charged him with fraud over his sale of Adidas back in the 1990′s. As Bloomberg Businessweek reported, magistrates seized hundreds of millions of euros from Tapie, his Paris mansion, a St. Tropez villa, holdings in a French media company, and multiple bank accounts following the indictment.

The indictment claims that Tapie rigged a French government decision which awarded him €385 million ($493 million) for alleged fraud in the Adidas sale. Stephane Richard, who’s chief executive of French telecom giant Orange, was also charged with fraud. As the chief of staff to then-Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, Richard approved the €385 million payment to Tapie over the alleged fraud.

This certainly isn’t the first time that Tapie has been in trouble with the law. In 1993, he was convicted of a match-fixing scandal involving his Olympique de Marseille soccer club. After serving six months in prison for this crime, he was subsequently convicted of tax fraud and “financial irregularities” at his company, Olympique de Marseille.

With Tapie’s latest troubles, the online poker world may be breathing a sigh of relief that he wasn’t able to purchase Full Tilt Poker. Tapie’s plan was to purchase the beleaguered site for $80 million, then pay the US government back in installments. However, this deal didn’t work for the US because they wanted the money upfront. Eventually, PokerStars rescued Full Tilt after paying the US government $731 million in a package deal.