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20 Feb, 2020 12:40

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi charged with bribing former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi charged with bribing former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke

Nasser Al-Khelaifi, president of Ligue 1 outfit Paris Saint-Germain, has been charged in connection to bribery of former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke in relation to an investigation into World Cup broadcasting rights.

The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) has brought charges against Valcke, accusing him of being complicit in the manipulation of television deals surrounding the World Cup and Confederation Cup tournaments.

PSG president Al-Khelaifi is also head of the beIN Media Group, which is alleged, along with a third party, to have compelled Valcke to commit "aggravated criminal mismanagement" with regard to distribution of tournament media rights. 

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A statement released by the Swiss AG office explains that Valcke had received "undue advantages" from the co-accused with relation to a down payment on a villa in Sardinia. 

"The investigations revealed that Valcke had received undue advantages from both co-accused. Valcke was refunded the down payment of around EUR 500,000 that he had made to a third party on the purchase of a villa in Sardinia, after Al-Khelaifi had purchased the villa through a company instead of Valcke," the Swiss Attorney General said.

Valcke allegedly had exclusive use of the villa for a period of up to 18 months, up until the point he was suspended by FIFA amid accusations of corruption in 2015. They Attorney General's office says that Valcke wasn't obliged to pay rent, which may have reached as high as $1.95 million.

"The charge of criminal mismanagement relates to the fact that Valcke had not reported the mentioned advantages that he received to FIFA, as he was required to do as its Secretary General, thus unlawfully enriching himself," the Attorney General continued.

"In this context, Al-Khelaifi and the third accused are charged with corresponding incitement."

The charges further allege that Valcke exploited his position as Secretary General of FIFA to enrich himself and to order favors for media partners with whom he had a relationship.

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Prosecutors say that they were informed by FIFA last month that they had reached an "amicable agreement" with Al-Khelaifi, along with a "partial" agreement with Valcke, and that world football's governing body had withdrawn criminal complaints with regard to the awarding of media rights for the 2026 and 2030 World Cups. 

However, the Swiss Attorney General says that FIFA's withdrawal of criminal charges has no impact on their own list of indictments.