Swiss Prosecutors Investigating PSG Chairman

Pauline Gross
October 13, 2017

Nasser Al-Khelaifi is at the centre of a TV rights deal storm, after Swiss prosecutors opened criminal proceedings against the Paris-Saint Germain chairman.

The chairman of Qatar-owned Paris Saint-Germain and the sports broadcaster beIN, Nasser al-Khelaifi, has been accused in Switzerland of criminally bribing the former Federation Internationale de Football Association secretary general, Jérôme Valcke, to buy World Cup TV rights.

The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) has also been investigating former Secretary General of FIFA, Jerome Valcke.

The criminal proceedings, in effect an investigation rather than charges, has been ongoing since March 20 this year, the OAG said, adding that collectively Khelaifi, Valcke and the unnamed businessman are suspected of bribery, fraud, criminal mismanagement and forgery of a document.

The new investigation - that which relates to Al-Khelaifi - is being conducted in partnership with authorities in France, Greece, Italy and Spain, and was opened in March 2017, the OAG said.

According to the OAG, Valcke is also suspected of accepting advantages from the businessman for rights to the 2018, 2022, 2026 and 2030 editions. "The company will fully cooperate with the authorities and is confident as to the future developments of this investigation".

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Peru coach and former Newcastle midfielder Nolberto Solano dismissed the controversy as "speculation". Commentators have since referred to the incident as the " Pact of Lima ".

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The Guardian has approached representatives for Khelaifi and Valcke for comment.

Since FIFA's much-discredited executive committee picked Russian Federation and Qatar in December 2010, the gas-rich emirate has bought up PSG with sovereign wealth and installed Al-Khelaifi as president.

Earlier this year, Khelaifi broke the world record for a player transfer fee by signing Brazilian footballer Neymar from Barcelona for €222 million.

After PSG's offseason spree signed off by Al-Khelaifi, European soccer body UEFA opened its own case into possible violation of soccer-specific rules created to curb excessive spending by clubs on transfer fees and wages.

Zurich-based FIFA is world football's governing body.

The probe extends scrutiny of world soccer, has been in turmoil since US prosecutors said in 2015 that soccer officials had taken nearly $200 million in bribes from sports-marketing executives in the Americas seeking media and marketing rights to tournaments. The DoJ has indicted or secured guilty pleas from more than 40 people.

Other reports by GizPress

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