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WORLD | 01-04-2022 19:03

Frenchman charged for murder of Argentine rugby star Aramburú

French ex-soldier charged with murder of ex-Pumas rugby star Federico Martín Aramburú.

A French ex-soldier has been charged with the murder of Argentine rugby star Federico Martín Aramburú, and placed in pre-trial detention, a judge said Friday.

Loïk Le Priol, a former marine commando, and member of an ultra-right movement, is suspected of having opened fire on the former Argentine international, who died on the spot, after an altercation in a bar in Saint-Germain-des-Pres in Paris on March 19 .

Le Priol, who served in Mali and Djibouti, was arrested four days later under a European arrest warrant at the Zahony border crossing between Hungary and Ukraine.

Hungarian police said Le Priol told them "he was going to Ukraine to fight" against Russia's invasion of the country.

He was sent back to France on Thursday and detained.

The suspect had already been handed a four-month suspended jail term, in 2017, for assault after leaving a nightclub .

Two others have been charged and remanded in custody over the killing.

Romain Bouvier, 31, a close friend of Le Priol, was charged with murder and two offences related to the possession of weapons. He is also suspected of having also shot Aramburu.

A 24 year old  woman, presented as Le Priol's girlfriend, was charged with "complicity in murder". 

She is suspected of having driven a vehicle belonging to Le Priol on the evening of the incident. 

Aramburú, 42, was shot dead in the early hours of March 19 after he and some friends were embroiled in a dispute with another group at a cafe in Paris's chic Saint-Germain neighbourhood.

After leaving the cafe, Le Priol and another suspect are believed to have returned and fired several shots from a car at the ex-Pumas star.

Aramburú played as a centre or wing, winning 22 Argentina caps including at the 2007 World Cup in France, where he scored a try as the Pumas beat the hosts in the third-place play-off.

He played club rugby in France for Biarritz, Perpignan and Dax from 2004 to 2010, winning the Top 14 twice with Biarritz and later sitting on the club's board of directors.  

Since his retirement from sport, Aramburú had lived in Biarritz and worked for a tourism company.

Le Priol, with dark slicked-back hair and moustache and wearing a black jacket, greeted the court's decision on Friday with a smile to his lawyers.

After the hearing lawyer Xavier Nogueras, said his client had nothing to add to what had been said in court.

Nogueras had called for a closed-door hearing, saying Le Priol's family has been subjected to "explicit death threats by people who claim to be members of the Basque community, the extreme left and the ultra-left."



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