French rugby president Laporte released after probe into suspected tax fraud

By Sports Desk January 24, 2023

French Rugby Federation (FFR) president Bernard Laporte was released without charge on Tuesday after being detained as part of a tax fraud investigation.

Laporte, who has been in office since 2016, was summoned by tax authorities earlier in the day.

However, the 58-year-old's lawyer Jean-Pierre Versini-Campinchi confirmed to AFP that he was later released.

"It is a case in which he is implicated for having been associated with rugby friends a long time ago," Versini-Campinchi said.

"He has neither been accused of having defrauded nor of having received any money."

Laporte stepped back from his role as FFR president in December after being given a two-year suspended prison sentence and a €75,000 fine for corruption.

The former France coach also stepped down from his role as vice-chairman of World Rugby within hours of the conviction and was banned from rugby involvement for two years.

He denied any wrongdoing and is to appeal against his court punishments. Consequently, the FFR has not ousted Laporte permanently at this stage as he bids to clear his name.

Tuesday's development came as around 2,000 French rugby clubs voted on whether to accept the appointment of interim FFR president Patrick Buisson.

"It's perfectly scandalous the prosecutors have chosen the date of Patrick Buisson's election for the questioning and that the disclosure of this questioning was made on the same day," Versini-Campinchi added.

France are due to host the Rugby World Cup in September.

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