World Rugby vice-chairman Bernard Laporte is set to be interviewed by the French Financial Prosecution Office (PNF) over his links to Montpellier Herault owner Mohed Altrad.
According to AFP, the interview is taking place following the FFR agreeing to fine Montpellier €3million at the behest of Sports Ministry inspectors. The noses of Montpellier Hérault’s Top 14 rivals was left out of joint in August after the club came to an “amicable” settlement in their salary cap case.
Many accused MHR of buying their way out of a points deduction despite questionable practices when it came to how assets were paid to their top players.
The club had been accused of irregularities during the 2018/19, following an expose by L’Equippe and RMC. The LNR stated that the “parties are pleased that an amicable solution has been found and that it is allows us to work in the future in a peaceful atmosphere.”
The accusations against the club revolved around the signing of South African flyhalf Johan Goosen, and a number of other top players. A report had suggested that money paid sums to Goosen and other players via a shell company in South Africa, so that the majority of their salaries would not be counted towards the salary cap.
Laporte now stands accused of giving favourable treatment to Montpellier after it was revealed that a company he owns had signed an image rights contract with Mohed Altrad’s Altrad Group in early 2017, a deal he since pulled out of.
The anti-fraud squad will now grill Laporte.
Standing unopposed, Fédération Française de Rugby President Bernard Laporte was elected the new Vice-Chairman of World Rugby in May. Laporte stood as World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont’s running partner in the elections.
He coached France between 1999 and 2007 and more recently Toulon between 2011 to 2016. Laporte was elected president of the French Rugby Federation in late 2016 and in 2019 he appointed vice-president of the Six Nations tournament committee.
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