Handball star Nikola Karabatic faces trial over alleged match fixing in France

  • Nikola Karabatic was among group of players banned after betting on a Montpellier club match two years ago
  • Former Olympic champion will plead not guilty at trial in next few months 
  • France's biggest handball star now plays for Barcelona in Spanish league 

By Ap Reporter

Published: 17:53 GMT, 1 April 2015 | Updated: 18:00 GMT, 1 April 2015

France's biggest handball star Nikola Karabatic will stand trial for fraud over his suspected involvement in an illegal betting case.

Karabatic, a multiple world and Olympic gold medalist, and his younger brother Luka were among a group of players banned by the French league two years ago for betting on the result of a match in which their Montpellier club, which had already secured the title, lost to a struggling team.

Karabatic's lawyer Michael Corbier told Sportsmail on Wednesday the trial will likely take place within months.

French handball star Nikola Karabatic has been accused of match fixing along with 15 others

French handball star Nikola Karabatic has been accused of match fixing along with 15 others

Former Montpellier ace competes for France in Handball World Cup match against Iceland in January

Former Montpellier ace competes for France in Handball World Cup match against Iceland in January

'We would have preferred the charges to be thrown out, but we'll aim for a not-guilty verdict,' said Corbier. 

'In theory he is facing five years in prison and a fine, but even a suspended sentence of just half an hour in jail would be too much.'

Karabatic, who was briefly detained when the case emerged, now plays for Barcelona in the Spanish league. 

Karabatic leaves the Montpellier's courtroom after attending his appeal in October 2012

Karabatic leaves the Montpellier's courtroom after attending his appeal in October 2012

Other former or current Montpellier players including Mladen Bojinovic, Samuel Honrubia, Dragan Gagic, Primoz Prost, Issam Tej and Mickael Robin will also be tried.

Karabatic has denied placing bets on the match that Montpellier lost 31-28 to Cesson-Rennes.

Betting authority Francaise de Jeux reported an unusually high increase in betting at halftime in the match, raising suspicions and triggering a police investigation.

 

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