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Paris prosecutors probe ‘gang robbery’ of France’s Tapie

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A vehicle arrives in the cordoned off area near the house of French businessman Bernard Tapie and his wife Dominique Tapie in Combs-la-Ville, southeastern suburbs of Paris, on April 4, 2021, after they were assaulted during the night by four men who entered their house before fleeing with jewelry. (Photo by STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP)

Paris prosecutors said on Monday they have opened an investigation into gang robbery after former French minister and scandal-ridden tycoon Bernard Tapie, once the owner of Adidas, was attacked along with his wife during a midnight burglary of their home.

The couple was asleep when four men broke into the house in Combs-la-Ville near Paris overnight Saturday to Sunday, beat them, and tied them up with electrical cords.

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In a sign of the seriousness of the case, the probe has been taken over by prosecutors in Paris from the local prosecutors in the town of Melun outside the capital.

Paris prosecutors said they have opened an investigation into “organised gang robbery, holding someone against their will to commit a crime and belonging to a criminal group.”

His wife Dominique Tapie managed to free herself and made her way to a neighbour’s home, from where she called the police. Slightly injured from several blows to the face, she was taken to hospital for a check-up.

Tapie himself, who is 78 and is fighting cancer, received a blow to the head with a club but declined to be taken to hospital.

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The burglars made off with two watches, including a Rolex, earrings, bracelets, and a ring, according to a source close to the investigation.

Tapie was a Socialist minister who rose from humble beginnings to build a sporting and media empire but later ran into a string of legal problems.

Last autumn, Tapie’s fraud trial was postponed for reasons of ill health. It is due to resume in May, with Tapie “determined” to be present, according to his lawyer.

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