Ex French Rugby international in dock over unemployment benefit fraud

Prosecutors say French journalist and former rugby player Thomas Lombard, pictured in March 2017, earned 130,000 euros in unemployment benefits whilst also working for TV station Canal+
AFP

Versailles (France) (AFP) – Prosecutors have called for former France international Thomas Lombard to be jailed for six-months and fined 15,000 euros ($17,700) for claiming unemployment benefit whilst also working as a television pundit.

Prosecutors in Versailles asked a judge Monday to punish the 42-year-old who as a player won the French Top 14 title four times for defrauding the French social security system.

The judge will now hear the case for the defence before handing down a judgement.

The prosecution allege Lombard earned 130,000 euros from French social security between December 2008 and November 2010 whilst also working for French TV station Canal+.

The prosecution assert that Lombard was eligible for the unemployment benefit, but believe he hid his role as a tv pundit.

The player, who won French top flight titles as a centre with Stade Francais in 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2004, insists the matter is an oversight.

The prosecutor has also asked for a 150,000 euros fine for the television company for breaches in French employment laws, saying the ex-player should have been on a full time contract and not paid by the day.

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