Bernard Laporte, the French rugby president and vice-chairman of World Rugby, was taken into police custody for questioning following a three-year investigation by the French financial police.
Laporte angrily compared the move to a coup 10 days before his re-election contest for the French position.
France’s national financial prosecution office confirmed Laporte, businessman Mored Altrad, and three other senior officials in French rugby were being questioned as part of a preliminary inquiry opened in 2017.
The inquiry into suspected conflicts of interest between Laporte — formerly the national coach and sports minister in France’s government — and Altrad, whose multinational construction equipment firm is a federation sponsor.
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