Thu, Dec 09, 2010 - Page 6 News List

Soccer star’s anti-bank ‘revolution’ fizzles out

AFP, PARIS

Eric Cantona’s bid to destroy global banking failed on Tuesday as his French compatriots ignored his call to withdraw cash en masse and it emerged his actress wife had starred in a TV bank ad.

The wealthy former Manchester United star warned his own bank to expect a big withdrawal, but there were no reports from anywhere else of large numbers of people lining up to take out their money.

Cantona withdrew money from a bank in the town of Peronne, his lawyers said in a statement without specifying the amount.

The former international forward had told a BNP Paribas branch in the town of Albert he planned to take a break from filming a gangster movie nearby and withdraw “more than 1,500 euros [US$1,980],” branch manager Antoine Poissonier said.

Cantona was “very happy with the reactions and public, economic and even political debate” his comments had provoked, his lawyers said.

Yet tens of thousands of people in France and beyond had promised on social networks like Facebook that they would take up Cantona’s call to bring down the “corrupt, criminal” banking system that sparked the global economic crisis. However, by the time France’s banks had closed on Tuesday — the day Cantona suggested his anti-capitalist revolution should begin — very few appeared to have kept their promise.

In Paris, members of an activist group called “Save the Rich” dressed up in striped prison uniforms and withdrew several hundred euros from a Societe Generale branch and deposited it at a nearby bank they saw as more “ethical.”

However, the protests were few, isolated and largely symbolic.

Cantona’s failure was compounded when it emerged on Tuesday that his actress wife, Rachida Brakni, had starred in a TV advertisement for Credit Lyonnais that was widely broadcast earlier this year.

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