PARIS: The French Tennis Federation’s offices and the home of its president Jean Gachassin were raided on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) in an investigation into alleged corruption and embezzlement, sources said.
The raid was linked to the alleged illegal sale of tickets for the French Open and the “conditions of awarding of the contract for the extension of the Roland Garros stadium,” France’s financial prosecution service said.
A travel agency in Tarbes, southern France, was also searched.
The French Tennis Federation (FFT) confirmed that its offices had been raided and said that it was fully cooperating with authorities.
The Federation’s lawyer Eric Andrieu told AFP: “The Federation has done important work over the past 10 years to limit trafficking of tickets and the black market.”
The raid comes after months of rumors about the existence of a ticket sale racket and long-running rows over the expansion of the Roland Garros stadium, where the French Open Grand Slam tournament is held.
In February a French satirical newspaper, Le Canard Enchaine, published an article alleging Gachassin had sold French Open tickets at face value to a travel agent friend who had then sold them on at five times their original price.
France’s sports ministry had launched an investigation into such allegations in September 2015.
The FFT has also been rocked by the firing of managing director Gilbert Ysern in February after weeks of disagreements with Gachassin, a move that divided French tennis with top players Gilles Simon and Julien Benneteau backing the ousted Ysern.