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French rugby president Bernard Laporte was released from custody on Wednesday evening. 

The 56-year old was being questioned over his links to Mohed Altrad, the Montpellier owner.

Altrad himself was one of four other individuals being questioned since Tuesday at the offices of the Brigade for the Repression of Economic Crime (BRDE) in Paris

The others are French Rugby Federation (FFR) vice-president Serge Simon, the FFR's international relations executive Nicolas Hourquet and Claude Atcher, the director general of the 2023 Rugby World Cup organising committee.

The case will be left in the hands of France's National Financial Prosecutor's Office to decide the next steps, if any.

The investigation dates back to 2017, when it's alleged Laporte showed favouritism to Altrad and Montpellier.

The Top 14 club had a €70,000 fine reduced to a €20,000 fine and a game forced behind closed doors.

Some months earlier, the Altrad company had become the first shirt sponsor of the France national rugby team. They also offered financial support to France's successful 2023 Rugby World Cup bid.

Laporte had claimed he was subject of a coup, adding, "It all adds up to a truly foul electoral strategy".

He denies any wrongdoing with his lawyer Jean-Pierre Versini-Campinchi saying, "He is perfectly calm about the questions that are likely to be put to him. But he is offended, he is angry."

Laporte's due to stand for reelection as French Rugby Federation (FFR) president on October 3. That election will go ahead as planned, despite a request for a postponement from one of Laporte's opponents - Florian Grill, the president of the Ile-de-France regional league.

However, it was successfully argued that delaying the elections "does not seem responsible, the health uncertainty at the end of the year representing a real risk".


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