The president of French rugby, arrested on suspicion of tax fraud

Less than seven months before the start of the rugby World Cup in France, Bernard Laporte, president of the national federation of that sport, He was arrested on suspicion of money laundering from aggravated tax fraud, the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office reported on Tuesday.

This process, different from the one that led to his suspension for a sentence in the first instance to two years in prison and another two of disqualification for corruption, It happens in full consultation process with the clubs on the nomination of Patrick Buisson as head of the French Rugby Federation (FFR), at the suggestion of Laporte himself.

The suspended president, whose police custody can be extended for at least 48 hours, He is a central figure in French rugby, former coach and even Secretary of State for Sports between 2007 and 2009, with President Nicolas Sarkozy. His first conviction, announced in December, responded to five crimes related to corruption due to an investigation for having allegedly favored Montpellier in 2017, whose owner had signed a sponsorship contract with the team on behalf of one of his companies.

Investigators suspected that Laporte lobbied the federation’s appeals committee in June 2017 to lower or remove a sanction against Montpellier. The appeals commission reduced the penalty from 70,000 to 20,000 euros and the team was not finally deprived of playing in their stadium.

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