Football: Tapie's political 'immunity' may be revoked

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

BERNARD TAPIE'S parliamentary immunity may be revoked, opening the way to a prosecution that could mean the end of the Olympique Marseille owner's political career.

If a French parliamentary committee's recommendation is accepted, Tapie could face charges relating to the syphoning of money from one of his companies to pay for his election campaign and buy Chris Waddle from Tottenham Hotspur in 1989. The committee agreed in Paris yesterday that there were grounds for Tapie's immunity to be lifted 'so as not to hinder the normal workings of justice'.

The application had been made by two magistrates investigating misappropriation of funds at two of Tapie's firms. The National Assembly committee has yet to rule on a second request from another magistrate investigating the alleged match-fixing which cost Marseille the French league title, and led to them being barred from defending the European Cup.

Meanwhile, Sergio Cragnotti, the owner of Lazio, was last night arrested in connection with one of the largest corruption cases in Italy's history. Cragnotti, who was instrumental in the signing of Paul Gascoigne, is a former president of Enimont, a joint venture by the state energy giant ENI and the Montedison subsidiary of the privately owned Ferruzzi agro-chemicals group.

ENI's pounds 600m buy-out of Montedison's shares in 1990 is suspected to have included tens of millions of pounds in pay-offs to politicians. Some 3,000 politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats have so far been arrested in connection with the scandal.

Goals by the midfielders Guido Buchwald and Andy Moller gave Germany a 2-1 win over Brazil in Cologne last night. Moller, with a right-foot shot, hit the winner in a four-minute spell which saw three goals transform a tight, tactical battle into an exhilarating contest. Buchwald managed to get his left foot to the ball from close range in the 38th minute and the striker Evair slotted in a clever cross from Edmundo to equalise two minutes later. The German striker, Karlheinz Riedle, was carried off in the first half with a suspected broken elbow.

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