Thursday 19 October 2017

PSG president Al-Khelaifi 'bribed official for TV rights'

Paris Saint-Germain President Nasser Al Khelaifi. Photo: Getty
Paris Saint-Germain President Nasser Al Khelaifi. Photo: Getty

Ben Rumsby

The Qatari president of Paris St-Germain was under criminal investigation last night as the Fifa scandal was dramatically reignited to engulf the man who masterminded Neymar's world-record move from Barcelona.

Proceedings were opened against Nasser Al-Khelaifi over suspicions he bribed Sepp Blatter's disgraced right-hand man, Jerome Valcke, in his capacity as chief executive of beIN Sports in order to secure World Cup broadcast rights. Both men deny any wrongdoing.

The media giant's Paris offices were searched, as were properties in Italy, Greece and Spain, in an operation coordinated by the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland as part of an investigation into football corruption that began with the dawn raids of a luxury hotel in Zurich in May 2015 and the indictment of several Fifa executives.

Criminal proceedings were also opened against Valcke, who was interviewed in Switzerland yesterday by Swiss prosecutors.

Both he and Al-Khelaifi are being investigated on suspicion of bribery, fraud and forgery.

Al-Khelaifi, 43, was appointed chairman and chief executive of PSG in 2011 shortly after the club's buy-out by a Qatari-led consortium.

He was instrumental this summer in their controversial world record purchase of Neymar and subsequent deal for Kylian Mbappe.

Valcke was already facing a separate criminal inquiry, launched in March last year over "various acts of criminal mismanagement".

That probe was related to his sacking by Fifa and ban from football for a series of offences, including attempting to sell World Cup TV rights for below their value.

Valcke was questioned a day after appearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport to appeal his 10-year ban from football, a suspension already reduced from 12 years by Fifa's appeal committee.

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Telegraph.co.uk

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