Paris St. Germain Chair Nasser Al-Khelaifi Accused Of Bribing Former FIFA Official
Paris St. Germain Chair and beIN Media Group CEO Nasser al-Khelaifi was accused Thursday by the Swiss authorities of bribing former FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke in return for "lucrative" World Cup contracts, according to Tariq Panja of the N.Y. TIMES. Swiss authorities accuse Doha-based beIN Media Group of bribing Valcke, who is currently serving a 10-year ban from world football. In its statement, the Swiss attorney general's office said that it opened a case in March against al-Khelaifi, Valcke and an unnamed businessman "on suspicion of bribery, fraud and criminal mismanagement." The statement said, "It is suspected that Jérôme 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." A spokesperson for beIN Media Group "did not imediately reply to a request for comment" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/12). The AP reported Valcke was questioned on Thursday and "properties were searched in France, Greece, Italy and Spain." Swiss prosecutors said that the action "was carried out with Eurojust, a European Union agency for cooperation in criminal matters." Eurojust said in a statement, "Multiple premises were searched, assets were seized and interviews were conducted as a result of this joint operation" (AP, 10/12).
'WHY SUCH HATE?': The AP reported Valcke defended his record at the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Wednesday. He "spent more than six hours in a CAS hearing to challenge his 10-year ban." He said, "I tried to show that I never acted against the interests of FIFA, that I always did my job in the best possible manner. ... I ask the question to myself many, many times, 'Why such hate?' Why such a desire from FIFA to destroy not only what has been done in the past but what has been done by myself?" (AP, 10/11).