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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.

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Tour de France: Dylan Groenewegen wins the 3rd stage, Wout van Aert keeps the yellow jersey



The great Danish start of the Tour de France 2022 ended on Sunday July 3, after a 182-kilometre stage between Vejle and Sönderborg. Dylan Groenewegen, Dutch rider from the BikeExchange Jayco team won in the sprint ahead of the yellow jersey Wout van Aert (Jumbo). The Belgian, second for the third time in a row, retains first place in the general classification.

The victory was decided in a nervous sprint after a quiet stage, during which the peloton was once again carried, all along, by a jubilant crowd. Dylan Groenewegen beat Wout Van Aert by a gut. The 29-year-old Dutchman took his fifth stage success in the Tour, which he had not run since 2019. He brought his total of victories to 62 since his debut at the highest level in 2016.

Behind, the Belgian Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) took third place ahead of the Slovak Peter Sagan (TotalEnergies), apparently unhappy not to have found the opening. The winner of the day before, the Dutchman Fabio Jakobsen, whose team was omnipresent, found himself locked up. He couldn’t do better than a fifth place.

Magnus Cort Nielsen’s Unforgettable Ride

For this last stage in Denmark before the transfer to France, the race turned into a long parade between two tight rows of spectators who celebrated the local Magnus Cort Nielsen, wearing the best climber’s polka dot jersey, then the peloton.

The Danish rider, who had already escaped the day before, isolated himself from the first kilometer to open the road with a lead that peaked at six minutes. He offered himself an unforgettable ride of some 130 kilometers, for this unprecedented incursion of the Tour into his country, in front of a peloton led by the main teams of sprinters (Quick-Step, Lotto, BikeExchange, Alpecin).

After the race, the runners planned to reach the airport of Sönderborg, a locality located near the German border, to reach the north of France by plane. The race will resume on Tuesday July 5 for the fourth stage in the Monts du Boulonnais, 171.5 kilometers of racing between Dunkirk and Calais.

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Sports

Rugby: Bernard Laporte placed in custody in the Altrad case



Ten days away from running for the head of the French rugby federation (FFR) Bernard Laporte was taken into custody Tuesday, September 22 in Paris, in the investigation into his links with the president of the Montpellier club, Mohed Altrad. His lawyer denounces a “Interference” in the campaign for the presidency of the FFR while Bernard Laporte castigates a “Destabilization” and one “Calendar unworthy of a democracy” in a letter to French clubs, distributed during his custody.

Preliminary investigation opened in 2017

Heard by the Economic Crime Repression Brigade (BRDE), Bernard Laporte is the subject of a preliminary investigation opened in 2017 by the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office, then recipient of a report from the inspectors general of the sports ministry. He would have exerted pressure on the federation’s appeal committee to reduce in June 2017 the sanctions pronounced against Montpellier Hérault Rugby (MHR), the club owned by the Altrad group, also sponsor of the France team.

August 13, 2017 Sunday Newspaper had also revealed the existence of a contract for 150,000 € of image services between BL Communication, a company managed by Laporte, and Altrad Investment Authority, a contract which the boss of French rugby had finally given up.

→ TO RE (READ). Rugby, what do we blame Bernard Laporte for?

“Interference with the judicial process”

Lawyer for Bernard Laporte, Me Jean-Pierre Versini-Campinchi deplored that the hearing takes place ten days before the elections for the presidency of the rugby federation, where the former Secretary of State for Sports (2007-2009) is seeking a second term, facing its main opponent Florian Grill.

“Searches were carried out (at the headquarters of the FFR) in February 2018, one could imagine that he would be heard in September 2018, this would have left investigators seven months to analyze the documents. However, he was summoned two years later, in the middle of the campaign, while the prosecutor knew the electoral calendar of the federation since August 2019 ”, said the advice of Bernard Laporte.

“It is the blatant interference of a judicial process in an electoral process”, he added, claiming that “The prosecutor refused, without reason, to change the date”. A previous hearing, set earlier in the year, had been postponed “Because of the health restrictions of the Covid-19, otherwise he would have gone there”, added Me Versini-Campinchi. As part of the investigation, the three members of the federal appeal commission have already been heard in 2019.

The boss of the group, Mohed Altrad, owner of the Montpellier club and sponsor of the Blues, was also taken into custody by the financial police, just like the boss of the 2023 World Cup Claude Atcher, and two senior officials of the Federation, Serge Simon and Nicolas Hourquet.

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