French handball star Karabatic's match-fixing trial starts

The match-fixing trial of French handball star Nikola Karabatic began in Montpellier on Monday.

The 31-year-old, a twice Olympic and three-time world champion with France, is one of 16 people accused of fixing a match between his former club Montpellier and Cesson in May 2012.

Karabatic’s brother Luka, also a handball player, his partner Geraldine Pillet, and six current or ex-Montpellier players are amongst the accused.

Having already wrapped up the French title, Montpellier lost 31-28 to Cesson, who were fighting to avoid relegation.

But the game attracted bets totalling 103,000 euros ($110,000) — an alarming amount for a sport that usually sees bets amounting to only a few thousand euros.

All the defendants deny the accusations. They face up to five years in jail and a fine of up to 375,000 euros.

The trial is due to last two weeks.

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