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Bernard Laporte taken into police custody in France - report

By Sam Smith
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Six weeks after receiving a two-year suspended prison sentence and a fine from the Paris Criminal Court for a range of corruption charges, French rugby president Bernard Laporte was reportedly placed in police custody on Tuesday regarding an allegation of tax evasion.

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Following the December 13 court judgment, Laporte stepped back from his FFR presidency duties but would remain in the role during his appeal process. However, a separate situation now emerged, according to L’Equipe, the French sports newspaper.

It reported: “According to our information, Laporte was placed in police custody on Tuesday for laundering aggravated tax evasion. Two other people were also taken into custody. This case, completely separate from the one that led him to the Paris Criminal Court, is in the hands of the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office.

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“A preliminary investigation was opened in August 2020 and entrusted to the Financial Judicial Investigation Service (SEJF). At the beginning of January, Laporte had to withdraw and abandon all the prerogatives of a president of the FFR under pressure from the Ministry of Sports and the ethics committee.

“This followed his conviction on December 13 for corruption, influence peddling, and illegal taking of interests for offences committed in the exercise of his functions. Laporte appealed against this trial judgment.”

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That judgment saw Laporte, the now self-suspended World Rugby vice-chairman, receive a two-year suspended prison sentence and a €75,000 fine, but he has denied any wrongdoing. He was accused of undue influence in securing a role for Mohed Altrad, whose construction company sponsors the France jersey.

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