Bernard Laporte Cleared in French Rugby Tax Fraud Investigation

Former French rugby chief Bernard Laporte cleared of money laundering and tax fraud charges due to lack of evidence, as investigators found no offense committed.

Salman Khan
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Bernard Laporte Cleared in French Rugby Tax Fraud Investigation

Bernard Laporte Cleared in French Rugby Tax Fraud Investigation

The investigation targeting Bernard Laporte, the former president of the French rugby federation, for laundering aggravated tax fraud has been dismissed due to lack of evidence, according to the national financial prosecutor's office. The case was dropped on March 21, 2024 after investigators found no offense had been committed.

Laporte, along with former rugby players Jean-Pierre Rives and Denis Charvet, were placed in police custody in January 2023 as part of the probe. The investigation centered on the conditions under which Rives acquired a stake in a casino company, with suspicions focused on a 3 million euro donation that may not have been properly declared to tax authorities.

However, Rives later made a declaration of the donation and paid the corresponding taxes, leading prosecutors to close the case. "No infringement could be characterized," the prosecutor's office stated in explaining the dismissal of the investigation.

Laporte's lawyer welcomed the decision, emphasizing the importance of respecting the secrecy of the investigation. The lawyer criticized what he called the "unjustified media coverage" of Laporte being taken into custody, which interfered with a referendum on the governance of the French Rugby Federation.

The tax fraud investigation was separate from a previous corruption case involving Laporte and businessman Mohed Altrad. In late 2022, Laporte and Altrad received suspended prison sentences in that case, which both men have appealed. The legal troubles have raised questions about future leadership at the French rugby federation.

With the dismissal of the tax fraud case, Laporte has now been cleared of wrongdoing in this particular matter. The prosecutor's office determined there was insufficient evidence to pursue charges after Rives properly declared the casino company donation and paid the required taxes. The conclusion of this investigation removes one legal cloud that had been hanging over the former head of French rugby.

Key Takeaways

  • Investigation into Laporte for tax fraud dismissed due to lack of evidence.
  • Laporte, Rives, and Charvet were initially taken into custody in Jan 2023.
  • Rives later declared the donation and paid taxes, leading to case closure.
  • Separate corruption case involving Laporte and Altrad is still ongoing.
  • Dismissal of tax fraud case removes one legal issue for former rugby chief.