Former Adidas owner Bernard Tapie, 78, and his wife Dominique were beaten and tied up with electrical cords during a midnight burglary on their home in Combs-la-Ville near Paris. The burglars, reportedly, demanded to know where the Tapie had hidden his "treasure." Tapie, who is also a former minister, is a scandal-scorched corporate raider and is facing a fraud trial in France.
Dominique somehow managed to free herself and took shelter in a friend's home from where she informed police. She was later taken to a hospital. Police said that the incident could have been fatal for Bernard Tapie as he received quite a severe blow to the head.
According to police, it was a planned burglary as the robbers wanted to know where Tapie's had kept his money and other treasures. The burglars evaded guards and entered the property via a window around 00:30 am on Sunday. They then beat them and tied them up with electrical cords before stealing two watches, including a Rolex, earrings, bracelets and a ring.
Dominique somehow managed to free herself and ran away to her friend's house from where she called police but Bernard was hit on the head with some kind of baton, local media reported. According to reports, Bernard who is battling cancer, refused to leave the house. "He is shattered, very tired," his grandson Rodolphe told AFP. The thieves fled the sprawling property in the suburbs of Paris with jewelry, watches, and the couple's cellphones, wrote Rodolphe on social media.
Dominique was later taken to the hospital as she was injured from several blows to the face but is expected to be well soon.
During the burglary, the perpetrators "pulled her by the hair because they wanted to know where the treasure was", the mayor of Combs-La-Ville, Guy Geoffroy, told AFP. "But of course there was no treasure, and the fact that they didn't find one made the violence only worse."
Various political figures offered their sympathies to the couple on Sunday, including finance minister Bruno Le Maire and far-right national rally leader Marine Le Pen, with the Elysee Palace telling French media president Emmanuel Macron had called to speak with Bernard Tapie on Sunday morning.
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.
He made a fortune in the early part of his career by taking by buying and overhauling firms in corporate raids before re-selling them at profit, eventually becoming a public figure with his purchases of Adidas and the football club Olympique de Marseille. However, he has also been under suspicion of match-fixing in France's top football league.
He briefly ministered for urban affairs in Francois Mitterrand's government in 1992. However, he soon got embroiled in scandals and controversies. He was found guilty in a series of cases for corruption, tax fraud and misuse of corporate assets, and was jailed for five months before being stripped of the right to stand in any election in France.
After his release from prison in 1997, Tapie added showbiz to his various activities, trying his hand at acting, singing and hosting radio and TV shows but his cancer was also detected and since has been battling the disease.