Paris - Police were searching the headquarters of the French Rugby Federation
on Tuesday as part of an investigation into suspicions of favouritism
concerning supremo Bernard Laporte, a source close to the case told AFP.
search at the federation's headquarters in Marcoussis, a southern
suburb of Paris, was ordered by the public prosecutor in charge of
Laporte, whose lawyer said the federation
president's home was also searched on Tuesday, is suspected of
pressuring the FFR's appeals committee to reduce a sanction against
Montpellier, owned by businessman Mohed Altrad, who owns the Altrad
He was accused of favouritism after it emerged that a
company he owns had signed an image rights contract with the Altrad
Group in early 2017.
He eventually pulled out of the €150 000 deal but the case was investigated by the French
Sports Ministry before being passed to the public prosecutor.
month the federation signed a major shirt sponsorship deal worth "at
least €35 million" with the Altrad Group, an industrial equipment
and services company.
Despite the continuing inquiry, Laporte that
the FFR's ethics and deontology committee had determined the new deal
with Altrad would not create a "conflict of interests".
take responsibility for putting a flagship of French industry on the
shirt to develop our sport," Laporte said when the deal was announced.
a former France and Toulon coach, was French Secretary of State for
Sports from 2007-2009 and was elected to the top FFR post in 2016.
has announced he will stand for re-election in 2020, which would make
him the boss of French rugby when the country hosts the World Cup in