Rugby: Bernard Laporte released from police custody for money laundering of aggravated tax evasion

The retired president of the French Rugby Federation (FFR) Bernard Laporte was placed in police custody on Tuesday January 24 as part of an investigation for laundering aggravated tax evasion, said the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF), confirming information from The Team. He came out of it in the evening without pursuit at this stage.

“He left without any police summons, nor presentation to an examining magistrate”told AFP one of his lawyers, Me Jean-Pierre Versini-Campinchi. “It is a matter in which he finds himself implicated having been associated with rugby friends a long time ago. He was neither accused of having defrauded nor of having received any sum”, he added. The national financial prosecutor’s office (PNF) confirmed that he had emerged free.

“He was summoned for a hearing by tax police, he went there with a tax lawyer”, said one of his lawyers, Me Jean-Pierre Versini-Campinchi. The investigations, launched in August 2020, were entrusted to the Financial Judicial Investigation Service (SEJF), said this source.

“It is perfectly scandalous that the prosecution chose the date of Patrick Buisson’s election to set that of the hearing and that the disclosure of this hearing was made the same day”he added, lambasting “a relentlessness of the PNF”.

A second case

Since Monday, and until Thursday, the approximately 1,900 amateur clubs in the country are called upon to decide on the candidacy of Patrick Buisson, vice-president in charge of amateur rugby, to take the head of the Federation during the withdrawal of Bernard Laporte, under pressure from the Ministry of Sports and the Ethics Committee of the FFR.

In rugby, awareness of player concussions

According to a source familiar with the matter, this investigation is separate from the corruption case in which Bernard Laporte was convicted at first instance on December 13. He was then given a two-year suspended prison sentence, alongside businessman Mohed Altrad, who was sentenced to an 18-month suspended prison sentence. Bernard Laporte appealed against this judgment.

The custody is also separate from the PNF’s investigation into the Rugby World Cup organizing committee. France 2023 for favouritism, influence peddling and corruption.



Footballer Benjamin Mendy not guilty of six rapes, but will be retried for a seventh

After five months of trial, the French international footballer Benjamin Mendy was found not guilty of six rapes and a sexual assault on Friday January 13 by British justice. However, he will be retried on two charges, for which the jury did not reach a verdict.

Suspended for over a year

After fourteen days of deliberation, jurors in Chester (northern England) acquitted him of six rapes and one sexual assault on four women. But they failed to agree on a verdict on two other charges, one for rape of a 24-year-old woman in October 2020 and one for attempted rape of a 29-year-old woman in 2018.

Benjamin Mendy, world champion in 2018, will thus be retried for two to three weeks from June 26 for these charges, announced judge Steven Everett. A procedural hearing is scheduled for January 27. The defender, suspended for more than a year by his club Manchester City, had appeared since early August. Accused of seven rapes, an attempted rape and a sexual assault, he risked life imprisonment.

His co-accused Louis Saha Matturie (unrelated to former footballer Louis Saha), presented as his tout, was found not guilty of three rape charges, and the jury did not reach a verdict on three other charges of rape and three of sexual assault.

Deliberate several times interrupted

After four months of hearings, the jury, made up of eight men and four women, retired to deliberate on December 5, but talks were halted several times due to Covid-19 cases and then for a scheduled break. for a long time, before a truce during the holiday season.

In court, the prosecution presented Benjamin Mendy as a “predator” having abused victims “vulnerable, terrified and isolated”. The footballer denied having been “a danger for women”, claiming to have had only consensual sex. The Manchester club took note of Friday’s verdict, but felt it was not “unable to comment further” as long as this case is not closed.

Four months in pre-trial detention

Winner of the 2018 World Cup with the France team, where he was a substitute, Benjamin Mendy was imprisoned at the end of August 2021 and spent more than four months in pre-trial detention. Released in early January 2022, he was placed under judicial supervision pending trial.

Trained in Le Havre, revealed in Marseille and passed through Monaco, Benjamin Mendy became the most expensive defender in history in 2017, when the Citizens paid 52 million pounds (about 61.4 million euros at current price) to secure his services.



Bernard Laporte will propose his “withdrawal” from his functions as president of the FFR

The president of the French Rugby Federation (FFR) Bernard Laporte, sentenced Tuesday, December 13 to two years in prison suspended for corruption, will propose Thursday to the Minister of Sports“his withdrawal” of his duties pending his appeal trial, announced Monday, December 19 evening the FFR.

Bernard Laporte, who “remain president” of the FFR, will also propose to Amélie Oudéa-Castéra her temporary replacement by a president-delegate, said the Federation in a press release, sent following the holding of a Federal Bureau in the morning.

According to the Federation, Bernard Laporte “has informed the Federal Bureau of its desire to follow the injunction of the FFR Ethics Committee to the letter”who had asked him on Friday to “withdraw temporarily, as a precaution, until a final criminal decision”.

Convicted of passive bribery and influence peddling

Therefore, the statement adds, “the Federal Office has decided unanimously by its members and in accordance with the regulations and statutes of our institution, to follow and apply to the letter the injunction of the Ethics Committee”.

In office since the end of 2016, Bernard Laporte, re-elected in 2020 for a four-year term, was found guilty on December 13 of five of the six offenses for which he was prosecuted, including those of passive corruption and influence peddling.

Having appealed the decision of the Paris Criminal Court, his suspended prison sentence, as well as the ban on exercising the activity of president of the FFR for a period of two years, are not immediately enforceable.

Amélie Oudéa-Castéra announced on Sunday that she would receive Bernard Laporte on Thursday, after having estimated, as soon as the judgment was made public, that the conviction of the former coach of the Blues made ” obstacle “ to his mission at the head of the FFR, nine months from the Rugby World Cup in France, from September 8 to October 28, 2023.



Bernard Laporte sentenced to two years in prison suspended, French rugby in turmoil

This is the epilogue of a legal soap opera that has shaken French rugby for several months. Tuesday, December 13, the president of the French Rugby Federation (FFR) was sentenced to two years in prison and a fine of €75,000 by the Paris Criminal Court for having tied “a pact of corruption” with businessman Mohed Altrad, manager of Montpellier Hérault Rugby (MHR), concerning in particular the allocation of sponsorship for the Blues jersey.

The sentence of the boss of French rugby, found guilty of passive corruption, influence peddling, illegal taking of interests and concealment of misuse of corporate assets, was accompanied by a two-year ban on exercising any function related with rugby. Bernard Laporte’s decision to appeal being suspensive, he retains his seat at the FFR, less than ten months from the World Cup in France.

Is it just a temporary reprieve for the former coach of the XV of France? Tuesday evening, the Minister of Sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra estimated that his conviction “obstructed” in the pursuit of his mission at the top of the FFR, claiming in fact his replacement at the end of“a new democratic era to allow French rugby to start again on a sufficiently healthy and solid foundation as quickly as possible”.

For his part, Mohed Altrad was found guilty of active bribery, influence peddling, abuse of corporate assets, and received an eighteen-month suspended prison sentence and a €50,000 fine.

The Laporte-Altrad relationship in the sights of the judges

The origin of the case dates back to a series of arbitrations rendered in 2017-2018. Bernard Laporte allegedly used his status to interfere in favor of his friend Mohed Altrad after receiving €180,000 from him in March 2017, under an image contract that was never executed. “Each of his interventions was guided by a bias towards Mohed Altrad”, according to the court, favoring in particular the awarding of the very first sponsorship contract for the jersey in the history of the XV of France to the construction group of Mohed Altrad. At the time, Bernard Laporte brushed off criticism, promising the partnership would pay off “at least 35 million euros” over five years, for the benefit of amateur rugby.

The suspicions of favoritism went further. The president of the FFR would also have intervened to alleviate disciplinary sanctions aimed at the Montpellier club. Indicted for having maintained the postponement of matches for the benefit of the said club, the vice-president of the FFR, Serge Simon, was released. To these legal setbacks is added the recent layoff of the project manager of the organization of the 2023 World Cup, Claude Atcher, for managerial practices judged “alarming”.

The 2023 World Cup in sight

These legal disputes tarnish French rugby and contrast with the state of grace, on the ground, of the France team. Former international fly-half under the Laporte era, Yann Delaigue is however confident in the ability of French rugby to recover from the condemnation of the leader of the federation: “Rugby is, in its very essence, a sport based on the idea that no one is irreplaceable. But this verdict actually turns the oval world upside down a lot, it does not help to give a good image of our sport.. »

Max Guazzini, emblematic president of the Stade Français Paris between 1992 and 2011, sees “a case mounted in a pinch”and prefers to retain the results obtained by the one who was the successful coach of the Parisian club before taking the reins of the XV of France (2000-2007). “Since 2016, Bernard Laporte has fought for the World Cup to take place in our country when it was not won in advance. He chose a coach in the person of Fabien Galthié, who allowed our Blues to return to victory. It is largely thanks to him that tricolor rugby is doing so well. he says to The cross.

As for the supposed interferences of Bernard Laporte, Max Guazzini relativizes: “You really have to know nothing about the practices that are current in our sport to think that a president never intervenes with a disciplinary committee when there is an unjust sanction. »

The future governance of the FFR in question

However, it is the mission of the Federal Committee of Ethics and Professional Conduct of French Rugby, chaired by Bernard Foucher, to make the governance of the FFR more transparent. This entity created in 2016, concomitantly with the arrival of Bernard Laporte, benefited from “the cooperation of the federal authorities”according to this honorary member of the Council of State.

However, this body had no say in the awarding of the sponsorship contract for the Blues jersey to the Altrad group. “The contract had already been concluded, says Bernard Foucher. We simply issued recommendations on the execution of the contract to prevent potential conflicts of interest with Montpellier Hérault Rugby. » In January 2018, seized by the presidents of professional clubs, this same committee recommended the establishment of “safeguards to ensure that there is no possibility of favoritism “.



Rugby: an open investigation into the management of the 2023 World Cup organizing committee

The National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) indicated on Wednesday, November 9, that a preliminary investigation had been opened in early October into the management of the public interest group (GIP) France-2023, responsible for organizing the Rugby World Cup. , confirming information from the Team. A search was underway on Wednesday morning at the headquarters of GIP France-2023, the organizing committee also indicated. The PNF confirmed carrying out searches at various locations.

The investigation was opened for favouritism, influence peddling, corruption and any other related offence, following a report from the General Inspectorate of Finance and the General Inspectorate of Education, Sport and the research. The investigations were entrusted to the Paris Research Section.


According to the team, “the criminal investigation is interested in these possible personal expenses borne by the GIP 2023, in certain past contracts and also in alleged irregularities linked to the ticketing of the 2023 World Cup”. At the end of June, the sports daily had published a long survey relating the malaise at work due to “management by terror” of the former managing director Claude Atcher.

Immediately afterwards, the Minister of Sports Amélie Oudéa-Castéra had requested referral to the Labor Inspectorate as well as to the ethics committee of the GIP, in which the French Rugby Federation (FFR) has a majority (more than 60%) and the minority state.

“Alarming managerial practices”

The submission of the report of the ethics committee this summer, mentioned “alarming managerial practices”. This had led the Ministry of Sports in early September, in concert with the FFR and the French Olympic Committee, which also sits on the GIP, to lay off Claude Atcher as a precautionary measure pending the investigation by the Labor Inspectorate. . He was finally removed from his position as general manager of the organizing committee on October 11, less than a year before the start of the competition.

In addition, a joint mission of the General Inspectorate of Finance and the General Inspectorate of Higher Education and Research has been working since this summer on ” possible breaches of economic and financial probity or conflicts of interest” within the GIP. According to the Ministry of Sports, “the report was made by the two inspections on the base” of their interim report. Both services continue to work.



Football: the Swiss prosecutor’s office appeals the acquittal of Platini and Blatter

The Swiss public prosecutor is appealing the acquittal pronounced this summer by Michel Platini and the former president of Fifa, the Swiss Sepp Blatter, in a case of fraud, he indicated Thursday, October 20 in a communicated.

The public prosecutor sent a declaration of appeal to the Court of Appeal of the Federal Criminal Court (TPF) and “requested the total annulment of the judgment of first instance”, explains the press release confirming information from the daily L’Equipe.

Acquittal delivered in July

After six years of investigation and two weeks of trial for fraud in Switzerland, the French football icon, 67, and Sepp Blatter, 86, were acquitted on July 8. They faced five years in prison and the prosecution had requested a year and eight months in prison suspended.

Both were appearing for having organized “ illegally, to the detriment of Fifa, a payment of two million Swiss francs”, approximately 1.8 million euros, “in favor of Michel Platini”.

Defense and prosecution agreed on one point: the triple Ballon d’Or advised Sepp Blatter well between 1998 and 2002, during the latter’s first term at the head of Fifa, and the two men signed a contract in 1999 agreeing to an annual remuneration of 300,000 Swiss francs, entirely paid by Fifa. But, in January 2011, the former midfielder who has since become UEFA President asserted a claim of two million Swiss francs”qualified as “false invoice” by the prosecution.

A “gentlemen’s agreement”

The two men insisted on their side that they had from the start decided on an annual salary of one million Swiss francs, by a “gentlemen’s agreement” oral and without witnesses, without the finances of Fifa allowing immediate payment to Michel Platini.

French “Worth His Million”assured Sepp Blatter to the magistrates, before Michel Platini in turn described a negotiation so little formalized that he had not specified the motto: “Me for fun, I said: pesetas, liras, rubles, marks, it’s up to you”had told the legend of the Blues at the hearing.

The court finally found that the fraud was not “not established with a likelihood bordering on certainty”, believing that ” the doubt must benefit the defendants”.



Accused of rape, footballer Benjamin Mendy in court in the United Kingdom

The trial of world football champion Benjamin Mendy, accused of eight rapes, an attempted rape and a sexual assault, opens Wednesday August 10 for more than three months in Chester in the north-west of England.

The 28-year-old French footballer, suspended for a year by Manchester City, is accused by seven women and denies the ten charges which relate to facts which allegedly took place between October 2018 and August 2021 at his home in Prestbury, in Cheshire.

A trial supposed to last at least fifteen weeks

He is on trial alongside another man, Louis Saha Matturie (unrelated to former footballer Louis Saha), prosecuted on his side for eight rapes and four sexual assaults on eight women between July 2012 and August 2021. The latter has also pleaded not guilty.

Their trial was originally scheduled to open on July 25 but was postponed for two weeks. It is scheduled to last fifteen weeks, according to the court.

The first days of this long-term trial must be devoted to choosing the jurors and organizing the hearings.

Suspended by Manchester City since the start of the case

Winner of the 2018 World Cup with the France team, where he played the role of good comrade if not one of the key players, Benjamin Mendy left the lawns for almost a year for the bench of the defendants and the cells of Liverpool and Manchester prisons, where he spent more than four months, from August 2021 to January 2022, in pre-trial detention. Released in early January, he was placed under judicial supervision pending trial.

Mendy has not played a single football match since August 15, 2021 with his Manchester City club, which suspended him when the case started.

Trained in Le Havre, revealed in Marseille and spent a season with Monaco, Benjamin Mendy became the most expensive defender in history in 2017 when the Citizens paid 52 million pounds (about 61.4 million euros at the current price). ) to secure his services.

A career punctuated by hopes, never really justified

When he arrived at City, he was considered one of the great French and world prospects at left-back. But his career has been hampered for four years by injuries and he has never really lived up to the expectations placed on him.

During the epic of the Blues in Russia in 2018, he sends back the image of the teaser always ready to turn on his portable speakers and play the role of DJ in the bus or the locker room, to start a dance à la celebrating the slightest goal of his teammates or multiplying “stories” on Instagram.

Benjamin Mendy’s trial opens two days after that of Welshman and former Manchester United star Ryan Giggs, 48, accused of assaulting his girlfriend.



Football: Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter acquitted in Switzerland

Michel Platini and the former president of the International Football Federation (Fifa), the Swiss Sepp Blatter, were acquitted on Friday July 8 in Switzerland in the fraud case which in 2015 shattered the Frenchman’s ambitions to access at the helm of world football.

The Federal Criminal Court of Bellinzona did not follow the requisitions of the prosecution, which had requested in mid-June respectively one year and eight months of suspended prison sentence, while the two former leaders proclaimed their innocence. The court ultimately found that the scam was not “not established with a likelihood bordering on certainty”thus applying the general principle of criminal law that “doubt must benefit the accused”.

For two weeks, the 67-year-old Frenchman and the 86-year-old Swiss had appeared to have “illegally obtained, to the detriment of Fifa, a payment of 2 million Swiss francs (1.8 million euros) (…) in favor of Michel Platini”. “A neutral court has finally found that no crime was committed in this case. My client is completely cleared and relieved”commented M.e Dominic Nellen, Michel Platini’s lawyer.

For his part, the ex-captain of the Blues rejoiced in a short press release to have “won a first match”while once again alluding to a political and judicial manipulation intended to remove him from power: “In this case, there are culprits who did not appear during this trial. Let them count on me, we will meet again”.

Michel Platini suspects in particular a hidden role of Gianni Infantino, his former right-hand man at UEFA elected in 2016 at the head of Fifa, and targeted since 2020 by a separate procedure for three secret meetings with the former head of the Swiss prosecution. .

An oral agreement without witness

Defense and prosecution agreed on one point: the triple Ballon d’Or advised Sepp Blatter well between 1998 and 2002, during the latter’s first term at the head of Fifa, and the two men signed a contract in 1999 agreeing to an annual remuneration of 300,000 Swiss francs, entirely paid by Fifa.

But in January 2011, the former midfielder (who in the meantime became UEFA president between 2007 and 2015) “enforced a claim of 2 million Swiss francs”qualified as “false invoice” by the prosecution. The two men insist on their side that they had from the start decided on an annual salary of one million Swiss francs, by a “gentlemen’s agreement” orally and without witnesses, without the finances of Fifa allowing immediate payment to Michel Platini.



Death of Maradona: eight health professionals tried for manslaughter

Eight health professionals will be tried in Argentina for manslaughter with aggravating circumstances, at the end of the investigation into the death of footballer Diego Maradona in 2020.

Football legend Maradona died at the age of 60 from a cardio-respiratory crisis on November 25, 2020, alone on his medical bed in a residence in northern Buenos Aires, while recovering from neurosurgery. He suffered from kidney and liver problems, heart failure, neurological deterioration, and addiction to alcohol and psychotropic drugs.

Breaches and negligence

An Argentinian judge from the municipality of San Isidro confirmed on Wednesday June 22 that a trial would be held for eight of these professionals, including a neurosurgeon family doctor, a psychiatrist, a nursing manager and nurses. The prosecution had requested this dismissal in April, pointing out shortcomings and negligence in the care of the ex-star, who was recovering at home.

The eight suspects will be tried for “simple homicide with dolus eventualis”, a typical offense when a person commits negligence knowing that it could result in someone’s death. They risk sentences ranging from 8 to 25 years in prison, but should appear free at trial, the San Isidro prosecutor’s office having never requested their pre-trial detention.

According to prosecutors, the personnel in charge of Maradona had been “protagonist of an unprecedented, totally deficient and reckless home hospitalization”and would have committed a “series of improvisations, mismanagement and shortcomings”. An expert report, as part of the investigation, concluded that the former player had been “left to his fate” by his medical team, leading him to a slow agony.

Psychologist, doctor or nurse, the suspects had all defended their actions during their hearings, within the framework of their field of competence, at the bedside of the champion. Leopoldo Luque, attending physician and confidant of Maradona appearing among the defendants, had said to himself “proud of what (he) has done”ensuring to have “tried to help” Maradona. No date has yet been confirmed for the trial.



Platini-Blatter trial: what are the charges against the defendants?

After six years of investigation, Michel Platini and the ex-president of Fifa Sepp Blatter appear from Wednesday June 8 before the federal criminal court of Bellinzona, in the south-east of Switzerland, in the case of payment suspect who broke their career in 2015. The verdict of the trial, which is held until June 22, is expected for July 8.

► What are the charges against the defendants?

The two former leaders of European and world football are accused of having “illegally obtained, to the detriment of Fifa, a payment of 2 million Swiss francs (1.8 million euros, editor’s note) in favor of Michel Platini”.

Michel Platini advised Sepp Blatter between 1998 and 2002 during the latter’s first term as head of FIFA. The two men signed a contract in 1999 agreeing to an annual remuneration of 300,000 Swiss francs, fully paid by Fifa.

However, in January 2011, almost ten years after the end of his activity as an adviser, Michel Platini “enforced a claim of 2 million Swiss francs” paid by FIFA “with the competition” of Sepp Blatter, reveals the prosecution. For the charge, it is a payment ” unfounded “obtained by inducing “artfully mistaken” the internal controls of Fifa by false assertions of the two leaders. These appear for ” scam “, “disloyal management”, ” breach of trust “ and “false in the titles”.

► What is their defense?

Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter declare that from the beginning they decided orally on an annual salary of 1 million Swiss francs. The balance was paid late because, at the time the agreement was established, Fifa’s finances did not allow an immediate payment. “This is a salary balance, owed by FIFA, by oral contract and paid under conditions of the most perfect legality. Nothing else ! I acted, like all my life and all my career, with the utmost honesty,” assures the Frenchman.

Even more, Michel Platini considers himself the victim of a conspiracy, noting that when the affair broke out, in 2015, he was a favorite to take the head of Fifa. He denounces in particular the role of Gianni Infantino, the current boss of world football, elected in 2016, who was his former right-hand man at UEFA and against whom he filed a complaint in November 2021 for “active influence peddling”.

Since 2020, Gianni Infantino has also been the target of a procedure relating to three secret meetings with the former chief prosecutor, in which a magistrate and the former legal director of Fifa have just been charged. But Swiss justice has so far refused to join the two files.

► What are they at risk?

Both men face up to five years in prison and a fine. Civil party, Fifa wishes to be restored the salary and social charges paid in 2011 to Michel Platini “so that the money embezzled by the defendants for personal purposes is returned to the one and only purpose for which it was intended: football”.

The affair has also made Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter pariahs of football. Suspended for the first time in October 2015 by FIFA’s Ethics Committee for a period of ninety days, they were then banned from all football-related activity for a period of eight years, reduced to six years by an appeals committee. In May 2016, the Court of Arbitration for Sport reduced Michel Platini’s suspension to four years.