To The Rescue Of Credit Lyonnais

In his trademark sleeveless sweaters and with half-frame glasses dangling from his neck, Jean Peyrelevade looks more like a rumpled country schoolteacher than the head of the world's biggest bank outside Japan. The low-key boss of France's Credit Lyonnais hardly seems the man to seize a client's furniture. Yet Peyrelevade stunned France in late May by sending gendarmes to impound the possessions of Bernard Tapie, a businessman and politician--and a Lyonnais borrower for 20 years. The bank says Tapie defaulted, a charge he denies.

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