Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has been charged with criminal offences in Switzerland over his alleged role in the manipulation of World Cup broadcasting rights by FIFA’s former general secretary Jerome Valcke.
The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) has taken action against those caught up in the scandal.
Valcke stands accused of having accepted bribes when it comes to the distribution of media rights for World Cup and Confederations Cup events.
Al-Khelaifi, who is also head of the beIN Media Group, and a third party are alleged to have incited Valcke to commit “aggravated criminal mismanagement”.
A statement released by the OAG read: “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. Valcke then received from Al-Khelaifi the exclusive right to use the villa for a period of 18 months – until he was suspended by FIFA – without having to pay an estimated rent in between about EUR 900,000 and about EUR 1.8m. From the third accused Valcke received three payments totalling about EUR 1.25m to his company Sportunited LLC.
“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. In this context, Al-Khelaifi and the third accused are charged with corresponding incitement.
“In relation to the falsification of documents, Valcke is charged with causing the issuance of untruthful balance sheets for Sportunited LLC in 2013 and 2014, in that he had the three payments from the third accused entered as loans.
“The charges of paying and accepting bribes are based on the allegation that between 2013 and 2015 Valcke exploited his position as Secretary General of FIFA to influence the award of media rights for Italy and Greece for various World Cup and FIFA Confederations Cup tournaments in the period between 2018 and 2030 in order to favour media partners that he preferred. In return, the third accused promised and indeed made the aforementioned three payments to Valcke totalling EUR 1.25m.
“On the other hand, the suspicion that Valcke accepted a luxury watch that Al-Khelaifi offered him in return for exerting his influence as Secretary General of FIFA was not found to be substantiated. As a result, an abandonment of proceedings order in relation to this matter was issued in February 2020.”