Dominique Tapie was the guest of the Monaco Press Club at the Hotel Hermitage on Thursday evening.

Mrs Tapie recounted a number of salient points in the life of her husband, especially the controversy with Credit Lyonnais dating back 15 years which is still the subject of litigation following his death in 2021. At one point his debts were attracting interest of 4,000 euros a day, she said.

Despite suffering from advanced stages of cancer, Bernard Tapie had fought his corner in a long-lasting legal battle that continued after his death which had implicated several leading figures, including Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank.

Mr Tapie had at one point owned or part-owned a number of local newspapers, including Nice Matin, Var Matin and Corse Matin. He had served as a government minister and he was the owner of Marseille Football Club from 1986 until 1994, making a comeback as president in 2001 for 15 months. In 1997 he spent five months in jail in connection with alleged corruption.

He is still held in very high esteem in Marseille, but not so much in Paris, Dominique said.

Dominique Tapie has written a book, with Catherine Siguret, Bernard – la fureur de vivre (the fury of living) – She alone really knew him.

Bernard’s life was tumultuous and extreme. “He was too frank and direct to be successful in politics,” Mrs Tapie said.

Mrs Tapie summed up her husband by saying that when she first met him, aged 19, she had found not a man but a destiny. Today, after 54 years, she is still bound to him by a mountain of debt as a consequence of litigation he lost in his lifetime.

But in her bittersweet remembrances what stands out is her love for the legend that was and still is Bernard Tapie.

PHOTO: Joëlle Deviras of Monaco Matin (left) talks to Dominique Tapie. Ian Brodie