Wednesday, 6th June 2001

Meet the President

Good morning all,

Meet the French president in 2006, Bernard Tapie ( "Tuppee" ). He is one of the most fascinating persons in France, and the French simply love him. Here is his story: 1990 Bernard Tapie is a business superstar in France. He buys companies in trouble, and has just acquired Adidas from the Dassler family for 1.6 billion French francs.

1993 Bernard Tapie is owner and president of Marseille football club, that just won the European Cup, unfortunately just days before bribing a few players of a small opponent team Valenciennes ( VA ). Credit Lyonnais, state owned bank with huge losses had funded Tapie for the purchase of Adidas. Seeing Tapie might go to jail for bribing, they "forced" extra guarantees from Tapie, which he couldn't give. So Credit Lyonnais took away Adidas from Tapie and sold a bit later to Robert Louis Dreyfus. Robert Louis Dreyfus made a killing with Adidas ( today worth more than 11 billion FRF ). meantime Tapie ended up in jail for 8 months.

One of the funniest stories was the now famous Mellik story: In the Marseille-VA affair, the coach of VA said Tapie had invited him to his office in Paris to tell him to lie about the bribes. Tapie answered it was impossible, because at that time he was having a meeting with Mellik, a mayor of a small town 2 hours away from Paris. Well that mayor was photographed in his town roughly one hour after the alleged meeting in Paris. Doooh! I read a lot about this story, it is so funny and so typical French.

I thought this was it, but here comes the best: Tapie ( ex-minister for Francois Mitterrand ) is banned from French politics until, I think 2003, but already now in polls he comes in number 2 as Jospin's Premier, if Lionel Jospin is elected President in 2002. And the last straw: end of April 2001, Marseille is in deep trouble in the French League, and Bernard Tapie is offered a job as Sports Director at Marseille Football club + parts of the club graciously offered by their president and owner...Robert Louis Dreyfus, former owner of Adidas!! Remember the story of the egg and the chicken??

And now the club is threatened by the French football authorities to be relegated, because RLD did not offer enough guarantees for the payment of FRF 250million. RLD has got 15 days to appeal. He is quiet. Tapie has already said, that "of course RLD will pay". Hehe, if RLD pays the debt, Tapie will be a hero in Marseille, and probably in the whole of France.

I do not like Tapie, but I have to admire his intelligence in politics. So remember his name. He is big in France, he'll be big elsewhere too.

Back on Monday / Have a nice week end