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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Levytsky Under Investigation in False Passports Affair

SAINT-ETIENNE, France - A French judge has placed Ukrainian goalkeeper Maxym Levytsky under investigation for allegedly using a forged Greek passport while playing for his former club, French first division Saint-Etienne.

Levytsky, who now plays for Russia's Spartak Moscow, was placed under investigation Wednesday night after being questioned in Saint-Etienne, central France, the player's lawyers, Andre Buffard and Stephane Goldenstein, said.

The investigation headed by Investigating Judge Nicolas Chareyre adds to a growing controversy in France over the alleged use of fake passports by professional soccer players hoping to get around nationality quotas.

French soccer regulations restrict the number of players from non-European Union countries who can play for first division clubs.

Before Wednesday's hearing in Saint-Etienne, French police had questioned Levytsky for 20 hours over the provenance of his Greek passport.

Police took Levytsky in for questioning Tuesday night after he attended a French National Soccer League (LNF) hearing into allegations that he was one of two Saint-Etienne team-members who have played under false documents.

The other player, Brazilian striker Alex Dias, holds a Portuguese passport whose authenticity has been called into question. Alex failed to show up for Tuesday's LNF hearing.

Both players face lengthy suspensions and possibly criminal charges if found to have used forged documents.

Saint-Etienne last month filed a complaint after the allegations surrounding Levytsky and Alex were reported in the French media.

Saint-Etienne believes that the legal investigation will determine whether or not the passports are indeed fakes, and clear the club of any blame, the club's lawyer Andre Soulier has said.

The LNF has also filed a complaint, which targets alleged forgers of identity papers.

As part of its complaint, the LNF has drawn up a list of 78 players who simultaneously hold passports from EU and non-EU countries. The list was submitted to judicial authorities so that the documents can be verified, LNF spokesman Guy Mislin said.

However, some of these papers are not in doubt, Mislin said.

French Sports Minister Marie-George Buffet on Wednesday urged "strong" sanctions should professional soccer clubs be found to have used players carrying false passports.