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SPORTS | 15-10-2017 00:40

World Cup bribery case opened against Paris Saint-Germain president, ex-FIFA executive

Al-Khelaifi is alleged to have offered “undue advantages” to Valcke — FIFA’s CEO-like secretary general from 2007 until his firing in January 2016 — for the award of media rights in “certain countries” for the 2026 and 2030 World Cup.

The Qatari president of one of Europe’s most glamorous soccer clubs, Paris Saint-Germain, is under investigation by Swiss prosecutors for suspected bribery of a top FIFA executive to get World Cup broadcasting rights.

Criminal proceedings against Nasser Al-Khelaifi, PSG’s president and CEO of Qatar-owned BeIN Media Group, former FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke, and an unnamed “businessman in the sports rights sector” was announced by the office of Switzerland’s attorney general on Thursday.

The case involves the award of broadcast rights for the next four World Cups from 2018 through 2030. The proceeding against Al- Khelaifi is  one of the first direct links to Qatar in sweeping investigations by federal law enforcement authorities in Switzerland, the United States, and France of FIFA, international soccer, and the 2018-2022 World Cup bidding contests.

The Paris offices of BeIN Sports were searched by two magistrates from the French financial prosecutor’s office, the federal agency said.   Properties were also searched in Greece, Italy, and Spain while Valcke was questioned in Switzerland, the Swiss federal prosecution office said. t cited cooperation from a European Union criminal investigation agency. Valcke did not immediately respond to an email request for comment. PSG declined to comment.

Al-Khelaifi is alleged to have offered “undue advantages” to Valcke — FIFA’s CEO-like secretary general from 2007 until his firing in January  2016 — for the award of media rights in “certain countries” for the 2026 and 2030 World Cup.

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