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French tycoon Tapie and wife attacked in burglary

Published: Updated:

Former French minister and scandal-ridden tycoon Bernard Tapie, the former owner of Adidas, was attacked along with his wife during a night-time burglary of their home, police sources said Sunday.

The couple were asleep when four people broke into their house in Combs-la-Ville near Paris around 00:30 AM (2230 GMT Saturday) on Sunday, beat them and tied them up before making off with their loot.

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Dominique Tapie was able to free herself and made her way to a neighbor’s home from where she alerted police. Slightly injured, she was then taken to hospital.

Tapie himself declined to be taken into medical care, the sources said.

There was no immediate information about what goods the perpetrators took and what the loot is worth.

Tapie is a former Socialist minister who rose from humble beginnings to build a sporting and media empire, but later faced a string of legal problems.

He made a fortune in the early part of his career by taking over failing companies, and often flaunted his wealth, including by buying a 72-metre yacht and a football club.

One fraud case has dogged Tapie for more than a decade, involving a hugely controversial settlement worth 400 million euros ($470 million at current rates) awarded to him by a government arbitration panel, the size of which sent shockwaves through France.

The panel judged he had been the victim of fraud when he sold his stake in the Adidas sports apparel company in 1993 to state-run French bank Credit Lyonnais, which was found to have undervalued the sportswear brand.

The case also ensnared then-finance minister Christine Lagarde who now runs the European Central Bank.

Lagarde’s handling of the case sparked suspicion that her former boss Nicolas Sarkozy, whom Tapie had backed for president in 2007, was favorably disposed towards the businessman -- allegations Sarkozy has vehemently denied.

Police are treating Sunday’s incident as a violent robbery and kidnapping, another source close to the investigation told AFP.

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