Altrad, the billionaire backer of the Top 14 club whose company name adorns the France jersey, is also under arrest alongside Serge Simon, vice-president of the FFR, Nicolas Hourquet who is responsible for international relations to the Federation and Claude Atcher who is general manager of the organizing committee for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Laporte was elected Bill Beaumont’s vice president at World Rugby in May after a very public debate on the future direction of the game.
He is due to be re-elected to the FFR in 10 days, but the PNF has been investigating his relationship with Altrad since 2017 and brought him to questioning yesterday as part of a preliminary corruption investigation according to AFP.
The FFR offices in Marcoussis were searched in 2018, when the five men saw their homes searched by the office.
Laporte is believed to have pressured the Top 14 appeals commission to reduce a disciplinary sanction against Montpellier, while he is also accused of favoritism after a company he owns signed a image rights contract with the Altrad group in 2017. Laporte finally withdrew from processing it.
Laporte’s partnership with Altrad was seen as essential for the French to secure the rights for the 2023 World Cup ahead of Ireland and South Africa.