France soccer player being investigated by prosecutors in under-age prostitution case

A player on France's national soccer team is under suspicion of soliciting an underage prostitute, a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutors' office spokeswoman told The Associated Press.

Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre said that "an international player" — meaning someone who plays for France's national team — is under suspicion after a 16-year-old girl was arrested for shoplifting and his name appeared on her mobile phone records.

"An inquiry is under way. A minor was arrested a few weeks ago, for shoplifting, and her mobile phone was examined," Thibault-Lecuivre said Wednesday. "It's after the examination of this telephone that an inquiry was opened for prostitution of a minor, but I won't confirm the name of those who could be cited, notably football players."

She confirmed that the player concerned "is an international player" for France without giving further details.

"Checks have to be made first of all. For the moment it is (a case of) suspicion," she added.

French soccer federation president Noel Le Graet has distanced himself from the investigation.

"Honestly, I don't know who it is. This has got nothing to do with the France team anyway," he told RTL radio. "I don't know what happened or what might happen. That said, this belongs in the private domain."

Three years ago, preliminary charges were filed against two French players for soliciting an underage prostitute. The scandal, which broke before the World Cup began on June 11, made front-page news in France and is still in the courts.

Prostitution is legal in France, but prostitutes must be over 18.