(AFP) – Rafael Nadal won a defamation case against former French health and sports minister Roselyne Bachelot on Thursday after she accused him of doping on television.
Bachelot was handed a €500 fine by a court in Paris and ordered to pay 12,000 euros in damages and legal fees to Rafa over the allegation she made to the D8 channel in March 2016.
I would like to reiterate my respect to the legal procedure and Tribunals of France. We have been made aware of their decision by which Mrs. Bachelot has been found guilty of defamation.
When I filed the law suit against Mrs. Bachelot, I intended not only to defend my integrity and my image as an athlete but also the values I have defended all my career.
I also wish to avoid any public figure from making insulting or false allegations against an athlete using the media, without any evidence or foundation and to go unpunished.
The motivation as I have always remarked was not economical. As the tribunal considered there has been a wrong-doing and the sentence recognises the right to damages, the compensation will be paid back in full to an NGO or foundation in France.
The ex-minister from 2007-2010 alleged that Rafa had faked an injury in 2012, when he missed the final six months of the season due to knee problems, in order to hide a positive drug test.
Rafa has never failed a drugs test and denies ever using banned substances.
He had sought € 100,000 in damages and explained last year that he had decided to take legal action to set an example, having previously ignored allegations against him.
His lawyer, Patrick Maisonneuve, told the court in October that the doping accusation could have had “major consequences” for Rafa concerning his “existing or future sponsors”.