ISPT President Bernard Tapie Makes Headlines in IMF Raid

Published on Mar 21st, 2013

French authorities raided the apartment of International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Wednesday, seeking evidence of wrongdoing when she awarded French businessman Bernard Tapie (pictured) hundreds of millions of Euros in 2008. You'll recall that Tapie was linked to an unsuccessful purchase of Full Tilt Poker and is the President of the upcoming International Stadiums Poker Tour.

The issue at hand actually dates back to 1992, when Tapie took a position as Minister of Urban Affairs under President Francois Mitterand. Mitterand required that Tapie sell his company, Bernard Tapie Finance, and in particular the sporting goods company Adidas. Tapie mandated the state-owned bank Credit Lyonnais to sell Adidas, which it did in 1993 for €315.5 million. The buyer was a group of investors led by Robert-Louis Dreyfus and included a subsidiary of Credit Lyonnais, which ended up owning about one-fifth of Adidas.

The bank had been struggling, resulting in the government taking partial control of it in 1994 and selling its liabilities. At the end of that year, Dreyfus bought all shares of Adidas for €701 million, significantly more than what the company was sold for in 1993. All the while, the commercial court of Paris was liquidating Tapie's companies.

In 1995, Tapie's liquidators discovered that after Credit Lyonnais had undertaken the mandate to sell Adidas, it researched the market and determined that Adidas was worth well more than Tapie's target price. Thus, Credit Lyonnais entered into a secret agreement with Dreyfus to sell him 100% of the company for twice what it was about to sell for under the mandate. Essentially, through financial wrangling, the bank bought Adidas from Tapie for the bare minimum, knowing it was going to flip it for a substantial profit.

In 1996, Tapie's liquidators sued Credit Lyonnais and were awarded €91.5 million, but that decision was annulled in 1998. At that point, Tapie requested ten times that much in damages. The case went on for a decade when finally in 2005, the court of appeal awarded Tapie €135 million, but that judgment was also annulled.

The part involving Lagarde comes into play in 2007, when Tapie and his liquidators offered to enter into private arbitration to settle the dispute. It was a very unusual request, as arbitration is normally reserved for disputes between commercial entities. Credit Lyonnais was partially owned by the government, though, and Tapie was a private individual.

Nonetheless, Lagarde, then France's Minister of Economic Affairs, permitted arbitration. The arbitration court awarded Tapie €285 million in 2008, which grew to €403 million once interest was tacked on.

Lagarde has since been accused of unfairly favoring Tapie because he was a strong supporter of ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy, under whom Lagarde served. The BBC's Christian Fraser says authorities believe Tapie was granted arbitration by Lagarde in exchange for supporting Sarkozy. It is not necessarily thought that Tapie finally won because the case went to arbitration, but more that he received much more money than he would have in court. Additionally, because the bank is partially owned by the government, much of the award will be paid with taxpayer money.

Poker fans will remember Tapie as the man whose company, Groupe Bernard Tapie, came close to buying Full Tilt Poker. It looked like finalization of the deal was imminent in early 2012, but the deal fell apart, eventually leading to Full Tilt's purchase by rival PokerStars.

Groupe Bernard Tapie is also the creator of the International Stadiums Poker Tour (ISPT), which had the lofty goal of getting 30,000 poker players to compete in a tournament in London's Wembley Stadium. It has been a rocky road for the ISPT, though, as prize pool guarantees have been slashed, the format has been changed, and satellites have been cancelled all because of a lack of interest.

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  1. Raided? Did they find any plunder?

  2. not sure the government makes a public raid this many years later without knowing what they are looking for (or planting). gg bt, sic river....

  3. Department of Jack OFFs

  4. Bernard Tapie has nothing to do with this story. Christine Lagarde is the head of the IMF, and on Friday last week her organization tried to steal billions of dollars of Russian and other European depositors' money out of Cyprus to bail out banks. Smoke and mirrors.

  5. The ISPT is still going ahead. Rob Yong from Dusk till Dawn has guaranteed a 1,000,000 euro first prize. Satellites are running on the Dusk till Dawn skin on the ipoker network and there are a lot of overlays on these sats at the moment.

    Originally Posted by eduardoamigo View Post

    The ISPT is still going ahead. Rob Yong from Dusk till Dawn has guaranteed a 1,000,000 euro first prize. Satellites are running on the Dusk till Dawn skin on the ipoker network and there are a lot of overlays on these sats at the moment.

    Nobody is interested in this though. Its run on small sites and not may people even know about this supposed "BIG" event...

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