Bernard Tapie absent from the hearing on Wednesday

The businessman Bernard Tapie, who fights at 77 years against a double cancer, did not appear Wednesday at his appeal trial in Paris, in the case of the arbitration of Credit Lyonnais, for reasons of health, said one of his lawyers.

Bernard Tapie, suffering from cancer of the stomach and esophagus, went to undergo medical examinations as a precaution at the hospital, indicated his advice at the opening of the hearing.

The court is due to begin Wednesday to examine the facts which are reproached to Mr. Tapie in the case of the arbitration which granted him 403 million euros in 2008 to settle his old dispute with the Credit Lyonnais.

The boss of the media group La Provence, who appeared in good shape on Tuesday, is on appeal with five co-defendants, including the CEO of Orange Stéphane Richard, chief of staff of the former Minister of the Economy Christine Lagarde during the establishment of arbitration.

This mode of private settlement had awarded in 2008 to Mr. Tapie 403 million euros, including 45 million for his moral damages alone, in compensation for the “fault” of Crédit Lyonnais during the resale of the German sports equipment supplier. Adidas in the 1990s.

But this arbitration award was declared “fraudulent” in civil matters because of “old, close and repeated links” between one of the three arbitrators, Pierre Estoup, Bernard Tapie and his former lawyer Maurice Lantourne. The businessman was therefore ordered to return the millions collected.

In the criminal proceedings at first instance, the Paris Correctional Court ruled in general, holding that “there was nothing in the case” to suggest that the arbitration had been the subject of “fraudulent maneuvers”.

The prosecution, which had asked for prison sentences against five of the six defendants, including five years against Bernard Tapie, had appealed.

The former boss of Olympique de Marseille, who faces seven years in prison and a fine of 375,000 euros for “swindle” and “embezzlement”, has always denied having “stolen the taxpayer”.

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