Paris Saint-Germain chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi subject of criminal proceedings
13 October, 2017, 00:57 | Author: Brenda Erickson
Al-Khelaifi, chief executive officer of the Qatari beIN Media Group and chairman of Ligue 1 leaders PSG, is suspected of giving "undue advantages" to Jerome Valcke, the former secretary general of global football governing body FIFA, in connection to media rights for the 2026 and 2030 World Cups.
The case involves the award of broadcast rights for the next four World Cups from 2018 through 2030. They were assisted by investigators from an anti-corruption unit.
Valcke was interviewed as a suspect in Switzerland, the OAG said. Representatives in Qatar and Paris for beIN did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
BeIN said in a statement that its "employees on site cooperated with the authorities until the end of the search". "The company will fully cooperate with the authorities and is confident as to the future developments of this investigation", the spokesman said.
Prosecutors claim that Valcke accepted the bribes from Al-Khelaifi with the intention of awarding media rights to "certain countries" for the World Cups due to be held in 2026 and 2030.
The Swiss Office of the Attorney General (OAG) said it had begun the investigation in March into Valcke, Al-Khelaifi - who is also CEO and chairman of Paris Saint-Germain soccer team - and an unnamed businessman in the sports-rights sector.
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Earlier this year, Khelaifi broke the world record for a player transfer fee by signing Brazilian footballer Neymar from Barcelona for €222 million.
Al-Khelaifi's rising status in European soccer has seen him earn a seat on UEFA's strategy panel as a delegate of top clubs.
The OAG said the investigation relates to "bribery of private individuals, fraud, criminal mismanagement and forgery of a document".
The Frenchman, whose job was to ensure the smooth running of Federation Internationale de Football Association, and in particular the World Cup, was the right-hand man to now banned president Sepp Blatter before both were embroiled in a corruption scandal which swept Federation Internationale de Football Association in 2015.
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