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French Olympic Champion Karabatic Denies Betting on Handball

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Oct. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Nikola Karabatic, the best-known player on France’s Olympic champion handball team, has denied betting on a match involving his club, while saying that his girlfriend did.

French prosecutors have charged Karabatic, his girlfriend, his brother Luka and 8 other people for betting on a May 12 game between his Montpellier team and Cesson-Sevigne, Agence France-Presse reported, citing lawyers for the accused. Montpellier lost 31-28.

Montpellier prosecutor Brice Robin said in a Oct. 1 press conference that 87,880 euros ($113,500) of bets were placed, earning 252,880 euros. The bets were placed in lots of 100 euros, allowing winning to be picked up anonymously.

On his Facebook page, Karabatic said he was living a “nightmare” and that his girlfriend’s betting on a Cesson victory didn’t constitute fraud. He said she “knew our situation well,” which was that Montpellier had already clinched the French championship, had five major players injured, and Cesson needed to win to remain in the major league.

Karabatic and his brother didn’t play in the Cesson game. “To accuse me of cheating and fixing a game is intolerable,” he wrote.

Karabatic, 28, was born in Serbia and has lived in France since he was four. He played on the French national team that won the Olympic gold medal in 2008 and 2012, and the world championship in 2009 and 2011.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gregory Viscusi in Paris at gviscusi@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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