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Is Khelaifi bribing his way through?

The Paris Saint-Germain president, Nasser al-Khelaifi, was charged on Thursday by Swiss government prosecutors regarding a more extensive bribery investigation connected to World Cup TV rights.

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Last updated: 23.02.2020
Is Khelaifi ‘bribing’ his way through (Source: Getty Images)

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The Paris Saint-Germain president, Nasser al-Khelaifi, was charged on Thursday by Swiss government prosecutors regarding a more extensive bribery investigation connected to World Cup TV rights. The office of Switzerland's attorney general documented a prosecution accusing Khelaifi of inducing previous FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke to carry out aggravated criminal mismanagement. Jerome Valcke has also been charged under three counts of offences including taking bribes. The Qatari football and TV official, nonetheless, no longer faces an allegation of pay off. The alleged offences against al-Khelaifi, who is also the chairman of BeIN media group, are not to do with his ownership of French champions PSG or his involvement as a member of the UEFA executive committee.

Following a three-year investigation, FIFA reached an agreement with al-Khelaifi last month, prosecutors informed, to drop its criminal complaint relating to the awarding of 2026 and 2030 World Cup rights to Qatari broadcaster BeIN Sports.

Charges: -

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Al-Khelaifi: inciting Valcke to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement.

Al-Khelaifi: accused of allowing Valcke exclusive use of a villa in Sardinia, which let Valcke save between €900,000 and €1.8m.

Valcke: Accepting bribes (close to 1.25m euros), aggravated criminal mismanagement (several) & falsification of documents.

An unnamed person has also been charged with incitement to commit criminal mismanagement & bribery.

"After an exhaustive three-year investigation, where I have fully and openly co-operated with the Public Prosecutor in Switzerland, I am pleased that all charges of bribery in connection with the 2026 and 2030 World Cups have been dropped," Al-Khelaifi said.

“While I have cooperated with all authorities during the legal process, the three-year investigation has been characterised by constant leaks, misinformation and a seemingly relentless agenda to smear my reputation in the media – completely irrespective of the facts and the notion of due process. For that reason, I have requested the relevant Swiss authorities to open a criminal enquiry into the conduct of the investigation.”

"As I have said vehemently and repeatedly for three years, the charges have not - and have never had - any basis whatsoever, either in fact or law. It is now - finally - an indisputable fact that the 2026 and 2030 agreements were negotiated at arm’s length and without any improper influence in any form. After the most forensic public, private, lawful and unlawful scrutiny of all my dealings, I have been cleared of all suspicions of bribery and the case has been dismissed definitively and conclusively.”

Khelaifi was appointed as a member of the UEFA Executive committee a year ago representing European clubs, despite being involved in the bribery case.


A report on the corruption case


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