PSG's Qatari president under investigation in FIFA 'bribery' case

PSG's Qatari president under investigation in FIFA 'bribery' case
Paris Saint Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi (left) with Neymar last August.

A criminal case for suspected bribery linked to World Cup broadcast rights is being pursued against Nasser Al Khelaifi, the Qatari president of Paris St Germain, Swiss federal prosecutors have announced.

The investigation concerns alleged bribes offered to former Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke to award 2026 and 2030 World Cup rights to Qatari-owned BeIN Media Group, the office of Switzerland's attorney general said.

The latest proceeding in a broader Swiss investigation of Fifa is against "Jerome Valcke, the chief executive officer of the BeIN Media Group LLC Nasser Al Khelaifi, and a businessman in the sports rights sector", federal prosecutors said on Thursday.

Valcke was alleged to have received "undue advantages" from the businessman, who was not identified, to award "media rights for certain countries" for four World Cups from 2018 through 2030.

Valcke was questioned on Thursday and properties were searched in France, Greece, Italy and Spain.

Swiss prosecutors said the action was carried out with Eurojust, a European Union agency for cooperation in criminal matters.

"Multiple premises were searched, assets were seized and interviews were conducted as a result of this joint operation," the European justice body said in a statement.

The criminal proceeding was opened on March 20, but only announced on Thursday, the Swiss federal office said.

The proceeding against Al Khelaifi is one of the first direct links to Qatar in sweeping investigations by authorities in the United States, France and Switzerland of Fifa, international football, and the 2018-2022 World Cup bidding contests.

Al Khelaifi's profile has risen in recent weeks as PSG pursued and sealed a world record transfer of Brazil star Neymar from Barcelona for £198 million.

The case stemmed from a wider investigation of Fifa's business that saw criminal proceedings opened against Valcke in March 2016.

Valcke was Fifa's chief executive-like secretary general under then-president Sepp Blatter from 2007 until he was fired in January 2016.

The French former TV presenter was in Switzerland on Wednesday to testify at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in his appeal hearing against a 10-year ban by Fifa for financial wrongdoing and abuse of expenses.

AP


More in this Section

Dalo's GAA Show: Throwback to old-school back door as Mike Quirke defends the county managerDalo's GAA Show: Throwback to old-school back door as Mike Quirke defends the county manager

Jurgen Klopp preparing Liverpool for a four-team title race next seasonJurgen Klopp preparing Liverpool for a four-team title race next season

West Ham strike late to boost survival hopes and dent Chelsea’s top four tiltWest Ham strike late to boost survival hopes and dent Chelsea’s top four tilt

Decision to axe Hogan Cup ‘leaves a bitter taste’ with Tralee CBS' semi-finalistsDecision to axe Hogan Cup ‘leaves a bitter taste’ with Tralee CBS' semi-finalists


Lifestyle

It is the fourth of May, 2007. I am coming home from work, tired and scrolling through images of Trapani, Sicily - our holiday destination in a few weeks. Nothing remarkable about the journey, until I read the story of a missing girl in Praia De Luz, Portugal.Learning Points: Give Madeleine McCann's family the space to put their lives back together

More From The Irish Examiner