Altrad came out of its silence. His speech was expected in the burning context which has been agitating the world of rugby for two days and the French federation. Its president, Bernard Laporte, is indeed implicated for suspicions of corruption, influence peddling and illegal taking of interests in cases linking him to Mohed Altrad, president of Montpellier (MHR) and sponsor of the jersey of the XV of France.
The president of the FFR, elected in December 2016, is suspected of having put pressure in March 2017 on the appeal committee of the federation to reduce by 50,000 euros a fine imposed on the MHR chaired by Mohed Altrad. He then just paid 150,000 euros to Bernard Laporte’s company for a lucrative image contract for services that the president of the FFR did not perform. The case extends to commercial deals and partnerships forged, among other things, around the sale of the Blues jersey. A jersey sponsored by… Altrad for 6.8 million euros per season, from January 2018 until 2023, while the price offered to historical partners (GMF, Orange, Société Générale and BMW) was 9.9 millions of euros…
At the microphone of Sud Radio this Wednesday morning, Mohed Altrad defended himself. “Everything you read, what you have read and what you will read has already been said in 2017 and 2018, he attacked. There’s nothing new ! Afterwards, we hope that this soap opera will end one day. But there is nothing new. It’s just a different dressing.”
“I appreciate Bernard Laporte who has become very close”
Invited to be more specific, the entrepreneur remained on the sidelines. “I cannot say much about the report established on these facts because there is the secrecy of the instruction. I am taken in a context of French rugby which is a small environment. I am very different from this small environment. I reject the idea of corruption and also that of influence peddling. Although I can’t talk about the case right now. One day I will talk about it. And it will be interesting. I fear nothing. It’s the first time I’ve been in this kind of situation and I’m not really a good customer for it.
On his friendship with Bernard Laporte, Altrad assumes to be close to the boss of French rugby. “In rugby, everyone is friends with everyone. But is it really true? I really let you be the judge. In any case, I appreciate Bernard Laporte who has become very close. But that doesn’t mean that I would practice improper things.”
Altrad also announces that it will not withdraw from the Blues shirt sponsorship. “I am the sponsor of the XV of France until after the World Cup in 2023. It is not in question, there is a contract. I stay in the middle of the rugby. I am passionate about the oval ball. ” Which does not prevent him from tackling the supposed hypocrisy of this environment: “I know people who kiss each other, who say to themselves my dear friend. And behind there is something else that is not very beautiful. I’ve seen it plenty of times in the world of rugby. Is it sincere or noble? I’m asking the question “