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Bernard Tapie Probe

The Telegraph has recently reported that the French police raided IMF (International Monetary Fund) chief Christine Lagarde’s flat as part of a probe into one of the main financiers of the International Stadiums Poker Tour.

The alleged purpose of the raid was to establish whether former French finance minister Lagarde acted illegally when approving a €285 Million arbitration payout to Bernard Tapie. Although specific details remain unknown, Lagarde’s lawyer has assured the public that his client is innocent.

Notorious Millionaire Bernard Tapie is used to being the centre of controversy. In December, he risked a major sum to acquire one of France’s most influential regional press groups. Famous for his high risk investments and ambitions, Tapie has been involved in politics as Cabinet Minister,  has bought one of the country’s oldest football clubs, and has claimed responsibility for rejuvenating sportswear giant Adidas. Even with his impressive resume, Tapie was also embroiled in controversy, especially after his 1996 imprisonment for football match fixing charges.

His company, Groupe Bernard Tapie, is the main financial backer for the International Stadiums Poker Tour. Laurent Tapie is currently the chairman of the ISPT. Also, the Groupe Bernard Tapie was previously placed in the poker spotlight after a failed attempt to purchase Full Tilt Poker.

The ISPT has been on a credibility rollercoaster ride within the poker community over the past couple of years. Its association with controversial skin Lock Poker and the scandal ridden Partouche Poker Tour have unsettled potential participants of the novel tournament series. The event has come under most scrutiny due to poor scheduling and a lack of clarity regarding how the event will actually be executed.

The poker community will have to wait to see if this latest saga involving Tapie has an effect on the already fragile reputation of the ISPT.

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Jamie Nevin