More than two years after a general acquittal, justice ruled this Wednesday on appeal in Paris on the fate of the five men initially tried alongside Bernard Tapie in the controversial Crédit Lyonnais arbitration case in 2008. The Orange boss Stéphane Richard was sentenced to a one-year suspended sentence and a fine of 50,000 euros.
He was found guilty of complicity in the embezzlement of public funds.
The prosecution had requested a more severe sentence, three years imprisonment, including a firm and 100,000 euros fine.
Maurice Lantourne (the former lawyer of Bernard Tapie) receives three years' imprisonment, two of which are suspended, a fine of 500,000 euros and a five-year ban on professional practice with provisional execution.
He was found guilty of fraud and aiding and abetting public funds.
Pierre Estoup (the one who arbitrated the case) was also found guilty of fraud and Jean-François Rocchi, senior officials of Bercy, of complicity in the embezzlement of public funds.
The case is one of the facets of the titanic dispute that arose nearly thirty years ago between Bernard Tapie and his historic bank, Crédit Lyonnais, around the resale of sports equipment supplier Adidas in the early 1990s. following a criminal investigation opened on suspicions of "rigging" of the arbitration in favor of Bernard Carpets in the case of the credit Lyonnais, which had initially concluded with a "fault" of the former public bank.
Laundered after the first trial
At the end of the first trial, the court had cleared Bernard Tapie and his co-defendants, considering that "no element" made it possible to affirm the existence of "fraudulent maneuvers". The prosecution then appealed. In the fall of 2020, a second trial began, quickly suspended due to the deterioration in Bernard Tapie's state of health. The hearings had resumed in the spring of 2021 in his presence, but had ended without him, again prevented by the disease.
The decision of the court of appeal was initially due on October 6 but it was postponed after the death, three days earlier at the age of 78, of Bernard Tapie, from cancer.
For the businessman, the procedure remains with the acquittal pronounced in July 2019: the court of appeal noted the end of the criminal proceedings against him.
The general prosecutor's office had requested five years' suspended imprisonment and a fine of 300,000 euros against the former minister.