at the Laporte trial, the charge of the defense against "the fantasy" of corruption

In the aftermath of heavy requisitionsthe defense of Bernard Laporte and Mohed Altrad retaliated on Wednesday by crushing the “fantasy“Corruption charges that led these two pillars of French rugby to the Paris Criminal Court. "Here you have the perfect recipe for miscarriage of justice», claims Me Fanny Colin on behalf of the President of the French Rugby Federation (FFR) Bernard Laportepointing the "cognitive bias"of the accusation that led"to retain only what confirms the original thesis".

"If there is a file where we feel that there has been a manipulation (...), it is this one“, adds Me Antoine Vey whose client Mohed Altrad, CEO of the eponymous construction giant, also weighs in the oval: he sponsors the jersey of the XV of France and owns the Montpellier club, reigning champion of the Top 14. the National Financial Prosecutor's Office (PNF), the two leaders would have sealed a "bribery pact“by concluding an image contract in February 2017 under which Mr. Laporte received 180,000 euros for services never performed.

Bound by this "original sin“, according to the expression of the PNF, Mr. Laporte would have made a series of arbitrations favorable to Mr. Altrad: the granting of the sponsorship of the Blues jersey in 2017-2018, an intervention to reduce a disciplinary sanction against Montpellier or the cancellation of a postponement of matches to which the entrepreneur was notoriously opposed. Against thesebreaches of probity“, the prosecution demanded on Tuesday a year in prison against the two men, demanding the prohibition, for two years, for Mr. Laporte to exercise any function in rugby and for Mr. Altrad to lead a commercial company. Firm prison sentences were also required against the three other defendants tried since September 7 in this trial scrutinized one year from the World Cup in France.

This file “does not fit”

According to Me Vey, this file “does not holdbecause it is based on a "corrupt pact fantasy", fed by "prejudices about moralityof the two main defendants. "It is said that Mr. Laporte, because he would be corrupt, wants to sell something to Altrad, but we do not know what“says the lawyer.

Me Colin digs the same furrow: the 2017 contract cannot be a corrupt pact because the remuneration has "nothing unusual"for a leader like Mr. Laporte but also because he is "quite the opposite of a secret act»: it is concluded between two companies and recorded in their accounts. "In terms of concealment, we could have done better“, ironically the lawyer. Admittedly, recognize their advisers, the two leaders could have perceived the risk of conflicts of interest but that is not enough to characterize a "corruption".


According to Me Vey, a fundamental element is missing for this: evidence. "There are no texts, no emails, no callswhich would materialize this corruption. Her colleague drives the point home by noting that “half of the interventionsreproached to Mr. Laporte were notnot anticipatedin February 2017 when the supposed corruption pact was signed, whether it was the case of the postponement of matches (March 2017) or the sanctions against Montpellier (June 2017).

Regarding the winding conditions under which the sponsorship of the XV of France jersey was sold, against 6.8 million euros, to the Altrad group in October 2017, Me Vey pleads clumsiness. "We can see that there is a disorganization at the FFR but is it abnormal? This is the first time they sell a jersey“, he argues. However, the PNF would not have taken any of this into account, being too not only distort the elements in the file but also to knowingly conceal the exculpatory elements“, accuses Me Colin.

This is also the opinion of the defense of Claude Atcher, suspended from his position as Mr Mondial-2023 and prosecuted for having received supposedly undue funds from the federation. During the investigation,the openness to the contradictory was pure facade“, estimates Me Céline Lasek, being surprised by the persistent vagueness around the damage for the FFR. "We almost want to smile but it's not funnyshe gritted. End of the debates on Wednesday evening.

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