FRANCE: The Prodigal Accountant

At first, it appeared to French police like a case of straightforward, though exceptionally grand larceny. Early last July, Hervé de Vathaire, 49, the chief accountant of France's huge Dassault conglomerate, strolled into the Banque Nationale de Paris and signed a withdrawal order on the personal account of his employer. The sum was unusually large: 8 million francs ($1.6 million) in 500-franc notes. Still, no one at the bank thought to question De Vathaire as he lugged two big suitcases out of the bank; after all, he had long been empowered to...

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