Swiss attorney general to open criminal proceedings against PSG chairman and former FIFA secretary general
The office of the Swiss attorney general has opened criminal proceedings against Paris St Germain chairman Nasser Al Khelaifi and former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke in relation to World Cup media rights.
The new proceedings have arisen from an ongoing investigation into Valcke for alleged acts of "criminal mismanagement" concerning the awarding of World Cup media rights to certain countries.
In a statement, the Swiss attorney general said the new proceedings involved suspected cases of bribery, fraud and forgery against Valcke and Al Khelaifi, who is the chief executive of the beIN Media Group.
The statement read: "It is suspected that Jerome Valcke accepted undue advantages from a businessman in the sports rights sector in connection with the award of media rights for certain countries at the FIFA World Cups in 2018, 2022, 2026 and 2030, and from Nasser Al-Khelaifi in connection with the award of media rights for certain countries at the FIFA World Cups in 2026 and 2030.
"As it announced in March 2016, the OAG (Swiss Attorney General) is already conducting a proceeding against Jerome Valcke, in particular on suspicion of various acts of criminal mismanagement.. This proceeding is still ongoing. The new proceeding has been opened primarily on the basis of findings obtained by the OAG in the earlier proceeding."
In a separate statement, the French Justice Ministry confirmed two judges from the National Financial Prosecutor's Office had conducted a search of the Paris offices of beIN Sports, at the request of the Swiss public prosecutor..
The 43-year-old Al-Khelaifi was appointed chairman and chief executive of PSG in 2011 shortly after the club's buyout by a Qatari-led consortium. He was instrumental in the club's successful world record bid to buy Neymar from Barcelona in August.
Valcke was sacked by FIFA in 2016 after being implicated in an alleged scandal involving ticket sales and misuse of expenses, the result of a probe by the US Department of Justice which also brought down his boss, the then FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
Valcke was initially banned for from football for 12 years by FIFA's ethics committee, which was subsequently reduced to 10 years. Valcke launched his case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne this week to challenge the ruling.