Swiss probe Al-Khe­laifi and Val­cke over graft

Bangkok Post - - GENERAL -

>> GENEVA: Swiss pros­e­cu­tors have opened a crim­i­nal cor­rup­tion probe tar­get­ing the head of Paris Saint-Ger­main football club Nasser Al-Khe­laifi and dis­graced for­mer Fifa ex­ec­u­tive Jerome Val­cke over the sale of me­dia rights for up­com­ing World Cups.

The Swiss at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice (OAG) said the probe opened in March and cen­tres on al­le­ga­tions in­clud­ing bribery, fraud, crim­i­nal mis­man­age­ment and forgery of a doc­u­ment.

Pros­e­cu­tors in­di­cated that Al-Khe­laifi, a pow­er­ful Qatari sports ex­ec­u­tive who is also head of BEIN me­dia, was un­der sus­pi­cion only for ac­tions taken as the head of the sports me­dia group, which op­er­ates on five con­ti­nents.

The Qatar broad­caster is­sued a state­ment deny­ing any wrong­do­ing while con­firm­ing French au­thor­i­ties had raided the com­pany’s Paris of­fices fol­low­ing a Swiss re­quest.

“be IN Me­dia Group re­futes all ac­cu­sa­tions made by OAG. The com­pany will fully co­op­er­ate with the au­thor­i­ties and is con­fi­dent as to the fu­ture de­vel­op­ments of this in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” it said in a state­ment.

PSG, who grabbed headlines in Au­gust for their record sign­ing of Brazil­ian su­per­star Ney­mar, are not im­pli­cated in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Val­cke, who was Sepp Blat­ter’s right-hand man at Fifa, de­nied the al­le­ga­tions in an in­ter­view with French sports news­pa­per L’Equipe yes­ter­day.

“They say there have been pay­ments from Nasser to me in re­turn for the sale of rights at a pref­er­en­tial rate. But I’ve re­ceived noth­ing from Nasser”, he told the pa­per.

“There has never been an ex­change be­tween Nasser and me. Never.” Val­cke left the Swiss at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice on Thurs­day evening af­ter be­ing in­ter­viewed as a sus­pect and “dis­putes all the al­le­ga­tions”, his lawyer told AFP.

“He came out free, there is no co­er­cive mea­sure against him nor any bail pay­ment,” Stephane Cec­ca­ldi said.

The OAG said there was a third sus­pect in the case but iden­ti­fied him only as “a busi­ness­man in the sports rights sec­tor”.

Nasser Al-Khe­laifi

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