UPDATE 2-French magnate loses billion-dollar battle against state

(Adds reaction from Tapie lawyer and government)

By Chine Labbé

PARIS Dec 3 A French court dismissed tycoon Bernard Tapie’s demand for more than a billion euros from the state over a disputed enterprise deal on Thursday, ruling rather that he had to repay much more than 400 million euros.

In the last chapter of a 20-year-old legal feud, a Paris appeals court said the 72-year-old had not been duped by his state bankers when he sold the Adidas sportswear firm in 1992 and therefore was not entitled to compensation.

On best of rejecting Tapie’s demand for up to 1.2 billion euros ($ 1.30 billion), the court ordered him and his wife to repay 404 million euros he had received beneath a preceding settlement that has because been struck down, a court statement mentioned.

Tapie’s lawyer, Emmanuel Gaillard, stated all legal possibilities would be studied to counter a ruling he described as a “denial of justice”. French Finance Minister Michel Sapin welcomed the verdict.

The saga centred on claims by Tapie that he was hoodwinked by state-owned Credit Lyonnais bank, now defunct, into promoting Adidas for far much less than the amounts it subsequently fetched when resold and then floated on the stock marketplace.

As the liabilities of the former Credit Lyonnais were parked in a state structure known as the CDR, the case efficiently became a battle among taxpayers and Tapie, who has been a football and media magnate as properly as minister, actor and talk-show host.

Legal specialists mentioned it was achievable Tapie could launch one particular last appeal in the country’s highest court, but that such an appeal would not enable him to keep away from possessing to honour the repayment ruling issued on Thursday.

A significant element of the sum could be raised by the sale of some of Tapie’s assets, including a luxury Paris property and 1 in Saint-Tropez on the French Riviera that have currently been legally seized. ($ 1 = .9258 euros) (Reporting by Chine Labbe and Brian Adore editing by John Irish and Andrew Roche)