French rugby chief Laporte probed over fake job-for-favours claim
BORDEAUX - French rugby federation (FFR) president Bernard Laporte is being investigated over claims he benefitted from a fake job in exchange for favours, prosecutors told AFP on Wednesday.
Prosecutors in Bordeaux are probing Laporte for potential "forgery, fraud, misuse of corporate assets and concealment of misuse of corporate assets".
Laporte was recently re-elected as head of French rugby, his campaign briefly interrupted when he was taken into police custody in late September on suspicions that as president he favoured Top 14 club Montpellier.
As well as FFR president he is also vice-chairman of global governing body World Rugby.
Confirmation of the investigation comes after claims in French sports daily L'Equipe from a whistleblower of a €10,000-per-month, no-show job allegedly handed to Laporte several years ago by former figure skater Marc Faujanet.
Faujanet, 61, is also a former director and partner of a company based near Bordeaux specialising in the construction and operation of nursing homes.
Faujanet's own nephew, Julien Faujanet, alerted authorities to the alleged offence.
Julien Faujenet told L'Equipe that his uncle had offered Laporte the job with Espace Loisirs Concepts (ELC) "in exchange for easier access to land via Laporte's connections" in the Gironde area that surrounds Bordeaux.
Laporte's lawyer Jean-Pierre Versini-Campinchi told AFP that "neither he nor I have any idea what this is about".
"There is always an investigation no matter how stupid the complaint is. This is all scandalous," he added.
Marc Faujanet, who is currently president of a local patisserie chain, rubbished his nephew's claims and said they were motivated by a family feud after he sacked his brother a decade ago.
He told AFP that he had bought land co-owned by Laporte on the Arcachon Bay "at market price" just after Laporte had been appointed Secretary of State for Sport under Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007.