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Father arrested

Frenchman accused of drugging son's opponents
Posted: Tuesday August 05, 2003 3:23 PM


BORDEAUX, France (Reuters) -- Police have arrested the father of a junior French tennis player on suspicion of drugging his son's opponents -- in doing so causing the death of one of them -- a judicial source said on Tuesday.

Christophe Fauviau, 43, has been put under official investigation, one step short of pressing charges under French law, for "premeditated administration of a harmful substance that caused death without intending to do so."

Police arrested Fauviau in the southwestern town of Dax on his way home from a tournament and placed him in custody. His lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.

To help his son win matches, Fauviau is alleged to have laced players' drinks with a drug which made them feel groggy.

If found guilty of the charge of which he is accused, the retired army serviceman could face up to 20 years in prison.

Fauviau was arrested after one of his son's opponents died in a car crash after apparently losing control of his vehicle.

An autopsy found school teacher Alexandre Lagardere, 25, had consumed Temesta, an anti-depressant he was not known to normally take.

The case has rocked the tennis world in France because although Fauviau's 16-year-old son, Maxime, is not highly rated as a tennis prospect, his 12-year-old daughter, Valentine, is seen as one of the country's brightest young hopes in the sport.

There is no suggestion that either child was aware of their father's actions, nor that they had needed his assistance.

After Lagardere's death, police made a connection with complaints from two other players against Fauviau, who is from the Landes region of southwest France.

One of the two players complained to police in late June, saying he saw Fauviau tampering with his water bottle before a semifinal tournament match against Maxime. That player did not drink from the bottle, but still lost the match.

The player said he then saw Fauviau hanging around players' water bottles before the final. The finalist opposing Maxime was ill after the match and taken to hospital.
 
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