PSG chairman, Al-Khelaifi under criminal investigation over World Cup bribery

Viernes, 13 Oct, 2017

As part of the Swiss OAG's criminal probe, the Paris offices of beIN Sports were raided on Thursday, the French financial prosecutor's office confirming that two of its representatives, along with other French officials dealing with anti-corruption and tax avoidance affairs, had carried out the search.

It is suspected that 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 Al-Khelaifi in connection with the award of media rights for certain countries at the FIFA World Cups in 2026 and 2030.

BeIN Sport's chief executive, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, is suspected to have bribed former Zurich-based FIFA executive, Jerome Valcke, to secure the award of broadcast rights for certain countries for FIFA World Cups in 2026 and 2030.

The European Union's Judicial Cooperation Unit (EUROJUST) said "multiple premises were searched, assets were seized and interviews were conducted as a result of this joint operation".

As it announced in March 2016, the OAG is already conducting a proceeding against Valcke, in particular on suspicion of various acts of criminal mismanagement.

Findings obtained in that process have led to a separate line of inquiry involving PSG President Khelaifi.

"I refute the accusations against me or Nasser. There was never any exchange between Nasser and I. Never".

Valcke is serving a 10-year ban from football after he was found guilty by FIFA's former ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert of misconduct over the sale of World Cup tickets, abuse of travel expenses, attempting to sell TV rights below their market value and destruction of evidence.

The Frenchman, whose job was to ensure the smooth running of FIFA, and in particular the World Cup, was the right-hand man to now banned president Sepp Blatter before both were embroiled in a corruption scandal which swept FIFA in 2015.

In a statement released on Thursday evening, beIN Media group said it "refuted all accusations" made by OAG.