French rugby President Bernard Laporte gives an interview after France was named to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup, in London on November 15, 2017

Paris (AFP) - French rugby supremo Bernard Laporte could find himself in legal hot water after the French sports ministry transferred a report on alleged favouritism to the public prosecutor.

French Rugby Federation (FFR) president Laporte is accused of influencing a federation committee to reduce penalties imposed on Montpellier owner Mohed Altrad.

It came after Altrad’s eponymous business signed an image deal with Laporte’s BL Communication.

Former France coach and later secretary of state for sports, Laporte eventually pulled out of the deal worth 150,000 euros ($178,000).

But the report found that an FFR appeals committee had reduced a sanction against Altrad, whose company sponsors the French national team, following a phone call from Laporte to the committee’s chairman.

Altrad had also donated large sums of money to France’s successful bid to host the 2023 World Cup.

Although Laporte was not the bid committee’s head, he was a major driving force behind the country’s success.