Bernard Laporte’s “friendly club” ties in court
As a result of the trial that took place in Paris against numerous rugby executives from France who were accused of favoritism and conflicts of interest. It was mentioned that the Montpellier Hérault Rugby team was involved.
The war between the federation and the league in open-view matches was postponed amid controversy… On Monday, the Paris Criminal Court analyzed multiple comments made by Bernard Laporte in support of what he considers as being in the public interest “club friend” refers to the Montpellier Hérault Rugby (MHR) team that his co-defendant, Mohed Altrad, plays for.
These links are at the center of the favoritism trial against the strong man of the oval and president of the French federation (FFR), whose flow of submachine guns unnerves the president of the court. The trial is being conducted in France. “Rose-Marie Hunault is heard saying, “Excuse me, I did not understand,” and “Could you please repeat that, Monsieur Laporte?” to him multiple times.
Read more about the trial of Laporte and Altrad here: one year before the World Cup, the leaders of French rugby at the helm.
In exchange for a payment of 180,000 euros made in March 2017 by AIA, the holding company of Mr. Altrad’s group, the prosecution claims that Bernard Laporte intervened on multiple occasions in favor of the businessman and his club, which is the current winner of the Top 14 competition. The court will start by examining an incident that occurred at the beginning of 2017. Due to a strike by Stade Francais players, the National Rugby League (LNR) decided to postpone two matches of the Top 14 on March 17. The matches in question were between MHR and Racing 92, as well as Castres and Stade Francais.
Mohed Altrad is notorious for his opposition to this postponement, and the FFR, under the impetus of Mr. Laporte, will embrace his fight by making an extremely rare decision: his federal office will be closed “Reform (or revoke) the decision made by the League, with whom relations are at an impasse at the moment. As a result of the seizure, the administrative justice will ultimately judge the action of the FFR to be illegal. But for the Paris Criminal Court, there is still a question to be answered: did Mr. Laporte ensure that Mr. Altrad’s interests prevailed, who, in front of the investigators, claimed to be “agreed” with him, so that the FFR could exercise its right to “reform”?
During the hearing, the head of tricolor rugby makes a formal denial of the allegations, and the president ramps up the intensity. “Launching this statement is Ms. Hunault, who also recalls that a letter from the FFR addressed to the League that was included in this file had been submitted before the proofreading that was done by Mr. Altrad. “I have the impression that there is a small contradiction, not to mention a big one,” she says.
“An ally for us»
“Mr. Laporte says, “I didn’t know it at all,” while also adding that he is aware that the opinion of Mr. Altrad and the MHR is being sought: “it’s a nice club and it’s a fantastic individual. She is a president who is despised by the League, and as a result, he is an ally for us,” he also let’s go, making reference to “the battle” that was fought between the two authorities at the time. Mr. Laporte tries to grandstand when the office of the national financial prosecutor insinuates that this intervention would be linked to the contract signed in 2017 between the two men and the payment of 180,000 euros. “I’m not related to Mr. Altrad, but I am connected to AIA, the holding company that Mr. Altrad’s business belongs to.
The court is currently preoccupied with yet another case. The FFR appeal committee is required to decide on the disciplinary sanctions that were imposed at first instance on the Montpellier club, including a fine of 70,000 euros, due to the deployment in its stadium of banners that were hostile to the League. This decision is due at the end of June 2017. After Mr. Altrad makes the request, Mr. Laporte calls Jean-Daniel Simonet, the chairman of this commission; as a result, the fine will be reduced to 20,000 euros.
– “The president inquires as to whether or not there was any pressing reason to carry out this intervention.
– “Retorting, “I want to listen to the clubs, and I answer them straight away,” Mr. Laporte underlines that he merely wanted to know the choice and in no way wanted to weigh in on it. “I want to listen to the clubs,” says Mr. Laporte. “I never asked Mr. Simonet for anything”, he hammers.
The president continues to insist, and he recalls statements made while in police custody that depict a less black-and-white picture of reality. After being put under intense pressure, Mr. Laporte eventually admits that he made the statement during the phone call that the clubs of Toulon and Montpellier were still being heavily sanctioned by the League and that this situation needed to be resolved. He says that he made the statement to clear his name.
– “Mr. Laporte supports his position by stating, “I stated I want everyone to be on an equal basis.”
– “The president then responds, “And you don’t think that’s an appropriate way to intervene?”
– “Mr. Laporte is adamant that this is not the case.
The conclusion of the trial is expected to take place on September 22.