French rugby chief Laporte released after investigation into alleged tax fraud


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French Rugby Federation (FFR) president Bernard Laporte was released without charge on Tuesday after being detained earlier in the day as part of an investigation into suspected tax fraud.

Financial prosecutors, who had announced his arrest, and one of Laporte’s lawyers confirmed his release.

“It is a case in which he is involved because he has been associated with rugby friends for a long time,” the lawyer, Jean-Pierre Versini-Campinchi, told TBEN.

“He has not been charged with fraud or receiving money.”

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Earlier this month, Laporte stepped down from his position at the FFR without resigning after being convicted of unrelated corruption charges nine months before France hosted the Rugby World Cup.

The most recent survey dates from August 2020.

Tuesday’s incident comes as France’s nearly 2,000 rugby clubs vote on whether to accept Laporte’s appointed interim president Patrick Buisson, with results expected on Thursday

“He was summoned for questioning by the tax authorities, he went there with a lawyer specializing in taxes,” said Versini-Campinchi.

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“It is absolutely outrageous that the prosecutors chose the date of Patrick Buisson’s election for questioning and that the disclosure of this questioning was made on the same day,” he added.

Former France national coach Laporte, who has been in office since 2016, was found guilty on December 13 of five of the six offenses for which he was charged, including corruption and favouritism.

Laporte, 58, received a two-year suspended sentence.

He was also banned from holding any rugby posts for two years, but this has been suspended pending his appeal.

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In the wake of his conviction, Laporte resigned from his position as vice-chairman of the sport’s global governing body, World Rugby, pending a review by its ethics officer.

On February 5, Les Bleus begin their Six Nations title defense with a trip to Italy and look to extend a national record of 13 consecutive Test wins.

The Rugby World Cup, the sport’s global showpiece, kicks off in Paris on September 8.



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