The man who outspent the European Bank

The man who outspent the European Bank


norman lebrecht

December 16, 2011

He is best known outside France as the founder of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBTD) who lost his job by incurring ‘excessive costs’ in redecorating its London headquarters. It all seems rather tame in comparison to future bank behaviour, and he certainly made some sound investments in the art that that was bought for the directors’ dining room. Still, Jacques Attali had to go.

Today, he runs PlaNet Finance in Paris and is regarded locally as the epitome of renaissance man. He has written about 40 books, including novels, advises President Sarkozy on various matters and conducts a university orchestra in Grenoble.











We met to discuss Barbara. It was Attali who obtained the access to President Mitterand

that enabled Barbara to visit Aids patients in prison.  He later wrote a song for her and was given, as reward, the original manuscript of  L’aigle noir, her greatest hit.

You can hear Attali on Barbara in Sunday’s documentary on BBC Radio 3, and all week on the iplayer.

And this is Barbara singing L’aigle noir.


  • Frank says:

    Norman, you should talk to Jeanine Rose next time you’re in Paris. I interviewed her some years ago and remember her talking about her earlier years working with Barbara. Later, almost by hazard, she started working with classical musicians developing the now famed Concerts du Dimanche Matin – a regular stop for any Parisian music lover. She admitted not having any background in classical music but guessed that the music business was the same in any genre. Her success these past two or three decades demonstrated that.