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French Rugby Federation (FFR) president Bernard Laporte was acquitted on Tuesday after being detained in connection with a tax fraud investigation.

Laporte, who has been in office since 2016, was summoned by tax authorities earlier in the day.

However, the 58-year-old lawyer Jean-Pierre Versini-Campici confirmed to AFP that he was later released.

“This is a case where he was implicated because of his association with a football friend a long time ago,” Versini-Campinchi said.

“He has not been charged with fraud nor has he received any money.”

Laporte resigned as FFR president in December after being sentenced to two years of probation and a 75,000-euro corruption fine.

The former France coach also resigned as World Rugby vice-president within hours of his conviction and was banned from rugby for two years.

He denies any wrongdoing and will appeal the court’s penalty. As such, FFR is not at this stage permanently removing Laporte as he seeks to clear his name.

Tuesday’s developments come as around 2,000 French rugby clubs vote on whether to accept the appointment of FFR interim president Patrick Bisson.

Versini-Campinchi added: “It is utter disgrace that prosecutors have chosen the date of Patrick Buisson’s election for questioning, and that the disclosure of this questioning took place on the same day.”

France will host the Rugby World Cup in September.