MONTPELLIER (FRANCE) - World and Olympic handball champion Nikola Karabatic and 15 other people will stand trial on fraud charges over alleged match-fixing, a lawyer for the French sports hero said Wednesday.
French international handball player Nikola Karabatic poses in Pornic, western France, ahead of a training session on January 5, 2015
Karabtic, who led France to their fifth world title in Qatar in February, and the others were investigated over the rigging of a French championship game between his then side Montpellier and Cesson in May, 2012.
Montpellier, who were already champions, lost the game 31-28. Alarm bells rang because bets totalling 103,000 euros ($110,000) were made when a handball match would normally attract just a few thousand.
Investigating magistrate Marie-Christine Desplat-Didier decided Tuesday that the 16 should face trial, Mickael Corbier, a lawyer for Karabatic said.
The Serbian-origin Karabatic, who now plays for Barcelona, has denied involvement in illegal betting. His girlfriend and brother also face charges.
Karabatic, 30, was voted world handballer of the year in 2007 and 2014. He led France to back-to-back Olympic titles in 2008 and 2012 as well as three European titles (2006, 2010, 2014) and three world crowns (2009, 2011, 2015).