Former French minister and scandal-ridden tycoon Bernard Tapie has been attacked along with his wife during an overnight burglary of their home, south-east of Paris, authorities said Sunday.
The couple were asleep when four people wearing hoodys and dressed in black broke into their house in Combs-la-Ville just after midnight on Sunday, beat them and tied them up with electric cables. The attack is said to have lasted about an hour.
Dominique Tapie was able to free herself and alerted police from a neighbours home. She was taken to hospital with minor injuries.
“We have a lot of bruises,” she told RTL, but insisted they could not speak “for the moment”.
The 78-year-old former businessman, who has been battling cancer for several years, declined to be taken into medical care.
“It’s unthinkable, it’s shameful! Not only because Bernard Tapie, as we know, is tired from illness and medical treatment, but also four people against two at night, to sustain the treatment they did and the very visible results that we can see, it’s unbelievable,” said Mayor of Combs-la-Ville, Guy Geoffroy.
The value of the stolen goods have not yet been confirmed, but according to Le Progres newspaper, they included two watches, including a Rolex, earrings, bracelets and a ring.
On Twitter, one of Bernard Tapie’s sons asked people not to call his father, as “the kidnappers have his phones,” he wrote.
Tapie is a former Socialist minister who rose from humble beginnings to build a sporting and media empire, but he later faced a string of legal scandals.
He made a fortune in the early part of his career by taking over failing companies, and often flaunted his wealth, including by buying a 72-metre yacht and a football club.
Tapie was dogged for more than a decade by one fraud case involving a hugely controversial settlement worth €400 million awarded to him by a government arbitration panel, the size of which sent shockwaves through France.
The panel judged he had been the victim of fraud when he sold his stake in the Adidas sports apparel company in 1993 to state-run French bank Credit Lyonnais, which was found to have undervalued the sportswear brand.
The case also ensnared then-finance minister Christine Lagarde who now runs the European Central Bank.
Lagarde’s handling of the case sparked suspicion that her former boss Nicolas Sarkozy, whom Tapie had backed for president in 2007, was favourably disposed towards the businessman — allegations Sarkozy has vehemently denied.
Police are treating Sunday’s incident as a violent robbery and kidnapping, another source close to the investigation told AFP.