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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 August, 2003, 07:49 GMT 08:49 UK
Tennis father 'drugged rivals'
Christophe Fauviau arrested in Dax, southwest France
The death of a rival in a car crash prompted the inquiry
The father of two tennis prodigies has been arrested in France for allegedly drugging their opponents and inadvertently causing the death of a man.

Christophe Fauviau, 43, is accused of using an anti-depressant which made his children's rivals sleepy.

Suspicions were first aroused when a 25-year-old school-teacher was killed in a car crash after apparently falling asleep at the wheel.

The teacher had just been playing tennis with Mr Fauviau's 15-year-old son Maxime and had abandoned the match, saying he felt too tired to continue.

Traces of an anti-anxiety drug called Temesta were found in the dead man's bloodstream. He had never been prescribed the drug.

Fatigue

Police began to question others who had played against Maxime and against his 13-year-old sister Valentine, who is an outstanding junior player tipped for an international career.

Some of them also complained of fatigue during their matches.

Mr Fauviau was arrested at a railway station near his home in the south-western town of Dax, while he was on his way back from watching Valentine play a tournament in Egypt.

He is accused of spiking the water bottles of his children's rivals with the drug.

Mr Fauviau has been put under official investigation - one step short of formal charges - for "premeditated administration of a harmful substance that caused death without intending to do so", said a judicial source.

The offence carries a maximum term of 20 years.



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