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The day that French internet boss Xavier Niel made his fortune

January 19, 2013 | By Laurent Mauduit

Xavier Niel earned significant amounts of cash in his early business career through investing in sex shops. But the billionaire’s real money was made in the telecommunications industry through his development and ownership of internet service provider Free. Here, in the second part of Mediapart's investigation into the influential businessman, Laurent Mauduit examines the crucial day on which Niel consolidated his control over the company that was to make his name and his fortune.

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Part one of Mediapart's investigation into the boss of Free showed how Xavier Niel had begun to amass the beginnings of a fortune thanks, in part, to his investment in sex shops in Paris and Strasbourg. At their peak these shops were earning Niel around 15,000 euros a month in cash.