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Bernard Tapie Christine Lagarde Claude Guéant Côte d'Ivoire France Fraud French press review

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French weekly magazines review

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Bernard Tapie, the man suspected of fraud in an organized gang, tops the list of stories this week as the French magazines dig deep into the latest revelations.


Le Canard Enchainé accuses Stéphane Richard, CEO of the French Telecom company Orange and a key suspect in the case , of lying after he back-tracked on remarks saying it was the President Nicolas Sarkozy who validated the arbitration deal which handed Bernard Tapie 400 million euros as reparations in the Adidas sale affair.

Richard was chief of staff to IMF chief Christine Lagarde during her time as Finance Minister. When grilled by investigating judges, he named Claude Guéant, Secretary General of the Elysée at the time as the man who chaired the meeting.

Dossier: The Cahuzac affair

Claude Guéant is also at the centre of another graft investigation at the interior ministry where he served as cabinet chief to then Minister Nicolas Sarkory.

Le Canard Enchaîné
reports that he swindled 260,000 euros from the police investigation and state surveillance budget between 2002 and 2004. The details are contained in a report which current Interior Minister Manuel Valls has transmitted to the judiciary, according to the weekly.

Tapie’s very colourful reputation is being revisited in a just-breaking tax evasion scam. Le Canard Enchainé says the disgraced tycoon got away with 4 million euros thanks to a grave tax calculation error committed by the French tax authority Urssaf, discovered by an appeals court.

Marianne lifts the veil off another scandal plaguing the disgraced ex-budget minister Jérome Cahuzac. The left-leaning magazine reports that on top of his lies and manipulation, Cahuzac gathered a lot of valuable information during his tenure as President of the Finance commission at the National Assembly such as the names of foreign account owners and their favourite fiscal havens which he concealed for personal use.

Only fools don’t change their minds, says an old adage but Nicolas Sarkozy who announced his exit from politics after his defeat by President François Hollande is about to make a spectacular return to politics, according to L’Express.

Background reading: Previous French scandals

The right-wing magazine claims that Sarkozy is looking to take advantage of the chaos prevailing in the opposition UMP party.

L’Express
believes Sarkozy’s road will not be littered with roses given that he must scale through a string of corruption cases, especially his own investigation alongside seven of his aides in the Bettencourt campaign funding scandal.

Le Point turns the light on mafia networks from former Soviet republics and the Balkans which it claims are pillaging the French economy. The cartels are making billions from robberies of vehicles, contraband and money laundering, according to the right-wing magazine. Le Point says the organised network are operating all over France now, often resorting to mafia killings to spread their criminal fraternities.

And Marianne examines the collapsing case of the International Criminal Court against ousted Ivorian leader Laurent Gbagbo. This is after its prosecutors ruled that there was little evidence to substantiate the multiple charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity brought against him.

For Marianne, the Gbagbo case underscores the shortcomings and incoherence of the ICC considered by its detractors as a tribunal for victorious parties.