A couple of sports hall managers suspected of having irregularly employed nearly 200 apprentices will be tried by the Besançon criminal court in October, the city prosecutor announced on Friday. The man and woman, aged 40 and managing 21 sports halls in Burgundy-Franche-Comté and Ain, were presented Thursday to the Besançon public prosecutor’s office.

They will be judged on October 2 and 3 for “fraud”, “abuse of corporate assets” and “concealed work” over a period going from January 2020 to April 2023, said prosecutor Étienne Manteaux. They were placed under judicial supervision with a ban on managing a sports hall. Nearly 1.5 million euros in criminal assets were seized from their accounts and among their property, he added.

The investigation by the Besançon judicial police began following a report from the Departmental Service for Youth, Engagement and Sports (SDEJS) of Doubs, responsible for financing the employment of apprentices and in particular paying to structures “15,000 euros per apprentice for their hiring and training”, specified Étienne Manteaux.

“It appeared that the 21 Everest sports halls managed by the couple operated mainly with apprentices, whereas according to the regulations, there must be a maximum of two apprentices for one employee,” he noted. “Of the 200 apprenticeship contracts they had, 184 presented irregularities in terms of the training or work entrusted to the young people,” according to the magistrate. “It was the apprentices who operated the sports halls” and “this is a complete fraud on social charges”.