Justice: in the trial of Laporte, doubts and questions about the choice of the sponsor of the shirt of the XV of France

Justice: in the trial of Laporte, doubts and questions about the choice of the sponsor of the shirt of the XV of France

The president of the FFR spoke on Tuesday about the assignment of the XV de France shirt to the Altrad group.

I do not see where the problem is“: Bernard Laporte tried on Tuesday to convince the court that the flocking of the XV de France shirt in the name of the Altrad group from 2017 was unrelated to the contract that then linked him to the construction giant. According to the prosecution, the chronology of the events demonstrates, on the contrary, the existence of a corruption pact. It was on February 19, 2017 when the president of the French Rugby Federation (FFR) signed a contract with his friend Mohed Altrad’s holding company under which he was paid 180,000 euros, in exchange for services that will never be performed.

Three weeks later, the federation chose to carry the Altrad name on the Les Bleus shirt, in exchange for a payment of 1.8 million euros, within the framework of an association linked to the French candidacy for the 2023 World Cup. And at the beginning of 2018, the group became the official sponsor of the shirt, by paying 6.8 million euros per year and within the framework of a company that still exists today.

The former coach of the Blues affirms it: the choice of Altrad is linked to the simple fact that the group was the only one to compete or that its offer was the highest. “This company wanted to donate money and was the only“, he assures, about the first endorsement deal of 2017. In an April 2017 letter read to the audience, the Blues’ historical partners (BMW, Orange, SocGen and GMF) were surprised by the arrival of a new actor.without prior consultation“.

– “What is the urgency that led you to search for (the group, Editor’s Note) that you know?asks President Rose-Marie Hunault.

The FFR would not be required, excluding television and equipment manufacturer’s rights, to issue calls for bids.

– “I am here for the federation to make money, not to favor Pierre, Paul or Jacques.“, replies Mr. Laporte who recalls that the FFR is not obliged, apart from the TV rights and the manufacturer of the equipment, to carry out tenders.

The president insists: did the leader not see the risk of a conflict of interest in view of the ties that linked him to Altrad?

If we have to give up doing business with all the partners of the France team,”still very limited“, tries the leader, who however must admit that there is not more than one”ten“.

So that’s not much“, decides the president.

“I’m the one who says no!”

The court then cuts to the summer of 2017 as discussions begin over the Blues’ jersey sponsorship. A first round of financing at 9.9 million euros per year does not give money and the holding company of the Altrad group then offers 5.1 million. “I’m the one who says no! Is not sufficient. And then the partners had refused 9.9 million, so a consultation had to be made again“, says Mr. Laporte.

Elements of the file, however, distort his version. At the same time, his co-defendant Claude Atcher, who is involved in the FFR negotiations, indicates in an email that a “agreement in principlehas already encountered Altrad. “It is not Bernard Laporte who says that», defends the leader, speaking of himself in the third person. “I am totally against this email.“.

The Federation will eventually launch a tender at the end of October 2017, following the advice of Mr. Altrad himself. Did the businessman benefit from privileged information from the FFR that allowed him to win the tender? Asks the president.

ambiguities remain

sure not“replies Mr. Laporte. But ambiguities remain. Wanting a legal opinion on the tender, the head of the FFR called in a specialized lawyer… who became, at the same time, an adviser to Altrad.

It is not possible to be on both sides of the fence“, maintains Mr. Laporte, claiming to have immediately put an end to the lawyer’s mission. The president, however, reminds him of a singular fact: it was he himself who had given the name of this lawyer to Mohed Altrad, who was looking for an expert in tenders.

Is that not a problem for you?says the president. The discussions continued with the hearing of Mohed Altrad.

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