French press review 16 July 2012
The front pages look at, among other things, the madness that we know and love as professional football.
Local club Paris St Germain at the weekend spent 46 million euros for the services of one Thiago Silva, and is now offering to pay 12.5 million euros per year as a salary to Swedish striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, currently knocking in 40 goals per season at AC Milan. That works out at around three million euros a goal, which is probably not bad value for money.
Ibrahimovic is only moderately well paid, with Ronaldo, Rooney, Touré, Drogba and Samuel Eto'o all ahead of the Swedish star with the Bosnian name.
Paris St Germain has spent 182 million euros on the transfer market in the past 12 months.
Speaking of money, this is the week in which the new government has to try to straighten out our tax affairs. Few details are clear right now, other than the fact that we're all going to have to pay more. Lots more. The real bad news will emerge over the next few days.
Le Monde's front page editorial looks back to the weekend announcement that as many as 10,000 jobs are to be lost at the Peugeot Citroën car manufacturer. It's bad news for the individual workers, for the economy and for the new socialist government of Jean-Marc Ayrault.
Worse, Le Monde reminds us that each worker in the motor construction sector is directly responsible for keeping three, perhaps four, colleagues working in the supply chain. Fifty thousand jobs may go down the drain over the next three years. But whose fault is it?
The centrist daily has no hesitation in blaming the management at Peugeot Citroën. Those in charge have shown a complete inability to read the market, says Le Monde, committing themselves to vast production targets while their rivals were scaling down operations in anticipation of the global crisis.
Peugeot Citroën took too long to find a strategic partner to spread the cost of research and development. The company has failed to crack the Chinese market, which is the current lifeline of Renault, VolksWagen and BMW, because the policy was to dump out-of-date models in China, rather than adjust designs to meet local demand.
And the Peugeot Citroën insistence on maintaining the bulk of its production in France has backfired, since there are no income streams being guaranteed by foreign plants during the current European economic ice age.
Don't expect much change between now and 2016, says Le Monde, when the positive impact of the Peugeot Citroën partnership with General Motors should begin to be felt - always assuming that the two partners can stay in business that long.
Le Monde devotes an inside page to the efforts of a French investigating judge, to find out where Teodor Nguema Obiang gets all his money.
Teodor, "Teodorin" to his friends, is the son of the president of Equatorial Guinea. Here in Paris, he is known to be the owner of no fewer than 14 luxury cars, dozens of very classy watches, and a vast apartment on the super chic Avenue Foch, just a Lamborghini's roar from the Arc de Triomphe.
On 24 June 2010, Teodorin bought 300 bottles of Petrus (that's wine to you and me) for 2.1 million euros. That's 70,000 euros per bottle, paid for by the vice president of a country where most people live below the poverty line.
Equatorial Guinea has oil and gas resources, as well as vast forest reserves. It appears that our friend Teodor Nguema Obiang is the sole shareholder - indeed the sole employee - of a company exporting equatorial timber.
Apart from the environmental questions raised, on what terms does the president's son own the forests in the country, which his father has ruled with an iron boot since 1979? And, even if all that was shipshape and legally watertight, would the income add up to enough to keep Teodorin in the style to which he has become accustomed?
The French judge thinks not. He has twice called Obiang Junior in for a chat about the price of a Bentley Continental or two. Despite having diplomatic immunity at the highest level, thanks to a fudge which makes him a vice-president of Equatorial Guinea, Obiang Junior has twice failed to show up. He can be arrested anywhere in Europe, but they have to catch him first. To paraphrase Robert Shaw in "Jaws," they're gonna need a faster car.