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12 Dec, 2021 13:45

French Olympic swimming champion arrested in teenage rape case

French Olympic swimming champion arrested in teenage rape case

Double Olympic swimming champion Yannick Agnel has been arrested in connection with the alleged rape and sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl.

Agnel won gold medals in the 200-meter freestyle and 4×100-meter freestyle relay for France at the London 2012 summer Games.

As reported by the AFP, he was arrested in Paris on Thursday and taken into police custody in Mulhouse, which is five hours southeast of the capital close to the borders with Germany and Switzerland. 

Prosecutor Edwige Roux-Morizot said that a complaint was filed for incidents that allegedly occurred "around 2016", and included "rape and sexual assault on a 15-year-old minor".

The victim is also a swimmer and trained with Agnel at the swimming club in Mulhouse from 2014 and 2016.

According to L'Equipe, several swimming colleagues were interviewed by police over the past few weeks before an arrest was made. Furthermore, the swimming club has monetary disputes with some of them who have left the institution.

Agnel, who has already been in court to collect €60,000 ($68,000) for the final year of his contract with an appeal against the ruling his favor set for March, is among their number. 

MON, which is famous for once being the home of French Minister of Sports and 2000 Olympic backstroke silver medalist Roxana Maracineanu, is also being investigated for "attempted fraud" in events dating back to 2016.

Agnel was apprehended at his Paris home on Thursday, with his custody extended Friday morning.

According to Le Parisien, he has a "Garde à Vue" status of pre-trial detention which lasts up to 24 hours, but this can be extended to up to 48 hours by prosecutors.

After this time is up, Agnel can be released without any charges, released and given a court date, or, in the most serious cases, remain behind bars until a trial as seen in the UK with his compatriot Benjamin Mendy.

Before his arrest, Agnel had been working as a columnist and podcaster on E-Sports at France Info, who have suspended his contract.

Agnel announced his retirement from swimming after failing to defend his 200m freestyle title at Rio 2016 and advance through the heats.

In addition to winning gold twice at the Olympics, he is a 2010 gold medalist in the 400-meter event at the European championships, and won two golds again in the 200-meter freestyle and the 4x100-meter freestyle at the 2013 world championships.