Ski Federation President Accused of Corruption

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Annecy, France Mar. 28 (AP)--A state prosecutor on Tuesday demanded that the president of the French Skiing Federation (FFS), charged with diverting organization funds, be given an 18-month suspended jail sentence and a $45,000 fine for corruption.

Bernard Chevalier, 56, also is charged with abuse of trust and receiving funds from a dubious consultancy business.

The verdict was expected at a later date.

Chevalier is accused of diverting $5.4 million raised by sponsors to develop the sport. Only $1.69 million is left in the fund.

``The money served the federation as we had the right to do,'' Chevalier said. ``It did not belong to the competitors. Without the FFS, they would not be able to attract sponsors. Moreover, since they started they have been very happy with what they have been paid.''

Chevalier also is accused of receiving $35,800 a year for seven years from a brokerage and insurance company in exchange for offering consultancy of doubtful quality.

French skiers Luc Alphand, Carole Merle, Franck Piccard and Perine Pellen appeared in court as defense witnesses for Chevalier.

Copyright © 2000 The Associated Press