February 20, 2020

PSG President Nasser Al-Khelaifi charged over involvement in FIFA media rights scandal

Nasser Al-Khelaifi, PSG, FIFA

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has been charged with bribing former FIFA secretary Jerome Valcke in exchange for broadcasting rights of various tournaments, the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) has confirmed.

Valcke is accused of accepting bribes, criminal mismanagement and falsification of documents concerning the distribution of TV rights for competitions between 2018 and 2030.

The OAG released a statement on the Swiss government’s ​official website in which they accused Al-Khelaifi, who is chairman of the beIN Media Group, of offering Valcke rent-free use of an Italian villa which he owned in exchange for TV rights in Italy and Greece.

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It is estimated that the 18 months in which Valcke stayed in the villa were worth between €900,000 and €1.8m to Al-Khelaifi.

Valcke did not declare that he had received such treatment from Al-Khelaifi, thus leaving both liable to be charged.

This is not the first time that Al-Khelaifi has been investigated for his involvement with Valcke. The OAG confirmed that they had been looking into allegations that the PSG president bribed Valcke with a luxury watch in exchange for preferential treatment, but such claims were never proven and the investigation was dropped.

There was also another bribery complaint filed against Al-Khelaifi, but that has also been dropped as FIFA reached an ‘amicable agreement’ with the PSG chief.

Those allegations were in relation to the broadcasting rights for the 2026 and 2030 World Cups, but they have since been dismissed.

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Al-Khelaifi released a statement (via the ​Daily Mail) shortly after the latest charge in which he insisted he was confident he would be acquitted, just like he had been for the previous allegations.

“While a secondary technical charge remains outstanding, I have every expectation that this will be proven completely groundless and without any substance whatsoever,” Al-Khelafi said.

“After an exhaustive three-year investigation, where I have fully and openly cooperated 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.

“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 arms-lengths and without any improper influence in any form.”


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