France Telecom's Richard placed under investigation in corruption probe

France Telecom Orange CEO Stephane Richard has been placed under investigation for his role in an arbitration case in 2008 that resulted in a €285 million ($380 million) payout to businessman Bernard Tapie, Reuters reported.


It was earlier reported that Richard was hospitalised for fatigue after his arrest on Monday. He had been questioned for two days over the payout to Tapie that he helped negotiate as chief of staff to former finance minister Christine Lagarde, Reuters added. Lagarde is now the managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

"He has been in the hospital since Tuesday morning. He is tired but he is well," Richard's lawyer Jean-Etienne Giamarchi told Reuters.

Richard was a top aide to Lagarde when the French government awarded Tapie damages as part of his battle with now-defunct bank Credit Lyonnais over the 1993 sale of his stake in sports clothing firm Adidas. With interest, the award amounted to €403 million.

According to BBC News, the Court of Justice of the Republic is looking into claims that Tapie may have received favourable treatment because of his support for the former President, Nicolas Sarkozy.

Richard has denied any wrongdoing in the case. He was also recently forced to defend his position at France Teleco after reported comments by the French industry minister, Arnaud Montebourg.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this separate Reuters article
- see this BBC News article
- see this third Reuters article
- see this fourth Reuters article

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