In his deliberately provocative style, Jean-Pierre Versini-Campinchi, one of Bernard Laporte's lawyers, blurts out:
"I remind you that the 'ugly' Mr. Altrad, who is convicted like Mr. Laporte, costs him eight million euros per year for sponsorship
(of the Blues jersey).
And that we have never found an industrialist to take the place of Mr. Altrad, even at half of the payments… ”
Construction giant and 31st fortune in France in 2021 according to
, Mohed Altrad has become, in his last years, the great financier of French rugby.
At the origin of this resounding trial, he was accused of having signed a consulting contract worth 180,000 euros with the president of the FFR.
A contract quickly broken, given the media coverage of this affair.
Subsequently, the businessman was suspected of having made
"a pact of corruption"
Bernard Laporte (matches postponed, sanction of his club reduced by the FFR, price of the sponsorship jersey of the XV of France underestimated…).
The prosecutor of the National Financial Prosecutor's Office (PNF) had claimed against Altrad three years in prison, two of which were suspended, a 200,000 euro fine, and a two-year ban on managing a commercial company.
In the end, his sentence is less with "only" eighteen months in prison suspended and 50,000 euros fine for having
"weighed with all his weight"
to take advantage of his privileged relationship with Bernard Laporte.
His lawyers are giving themselves a few days to appeal this decision or not.
Read alsoRugby: Laporte's conviction "obstructs" his mission at the head of the FFR, warns the Minister of Sports
“The sentences are light years away from what was required. They didn't correspond to anything, it was just a display effect. But the principle of condemnation does not suit us. This is not a file in which there appeared a corrupting intention on the part of Mohed Altrad. We are going to assess the right decision to make for the entrepreneur that he is
“The sentences are light years away from what was required.
They didn't correspond to anything, it was just a display effect.
But the principle of condemnation does not suit us.
This is not a file in which there appeared a corrupting intention on the part of Mohed Altrad.
We are going to assess the right decision to make for the entrepreneur that he is
, ”explained his lawyer Antoine Vey.
“A very long, very hard ordeal”
In the process, Montpellier Hérault Rugby, owned by Mohed Altrad and reigning French champion, said that it
“is neither targeted nor impacted by this decision.”
And to add:
"Mohed Altrad will continue to invest his time and energy in his management missions for his club, his employees and his partners."
Also implicated, Serge Simon was released.
The vice-president of the FFR was accused of having had the postponement of the Montpellier-Racing 92 match, ardently desired by Mohed Altrad, noted.
A year in prison including six months suspended and a 10,000 euro fine had been requested against him.
“I am relieved, it had been going on for five years.
It was a very long, very hard ordeal, ”
said Serge Simon.
Read alsoRugby: in the midst of a storm, Claude Atcher claims to be the victim of “judicial and media harassment”
For his part, Claude Atcher, former director general of the organizing committee of the 2023 World Cup, dismissed from his post because of
"a management of terror"
, was fined 5,000 euros for concealed work under a contract signed with the FFR.
A key figure in French rugby, the one who had obtained the organization of three World Cups (France 2007 and 2023, Japan 2019) could have lost everything at the end of this trial.
The penalties required were heavy: two years in prison, one of which was suspended, a fine of 50,000 euros, a three-year ban on carrying out any commercial activity, a one-year ban on carrying out any activity related to rugby.
In the end, Atcher and the other accused are doing quite well.
Unless the public prosecutor decides, for his part, to appeal...