World Cup bribery case opened against PSG president, Valcke


Switzerland has opened a criminal probe targeting Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the president of Paris Saint-Germain, and FIFA's former secretary general Jerome Valcke, over alleged corruption in the sale of World Cup media rights.

The proceedings relate to the sale of World Cup TV rights to BeIn Sports, where Al-Khelaifi is chief executive, and are connected to the ongoing investigation into former Federation Internationale de Football Association secretary general Jerome Valcke.

Swiss prosecutors also allege Valcke received "undue advantages" from a businessman who was not identified to award certain media rights for four World Cups from 2018 through 2030.

In a statement on Thursday, the OAG said the new proceedings involving Al-Khelaifi had been "opened on the basis" of its findings.

Al-Khelaifi is chief executive of Qatar's beIN Media Group who are alleged to have paid money to the now-banned former Federation Internationale de Football Association secretary general Jerome Valcke in exchange for rights to the 2026 and 2030 World Cup.

Prosecutors interviewed Valcke on Thursday, while authorities in France, Greece, Italy and Spain searched properties in various locations, the OAG said.

More news: Southwest Airlines selling one-way flights for $49

It said the group "refutes all accusations" made by the Swiss investigators and that "the company will fully cooperate with the authorities and is confident as to the future developments of this investigation".

Earlier this year, Khelaifi broke the world record for a player transfer fee by signing Brazilian footballer Neymar from Barcelona for €222 million.

The following month the OAG announced that it had opened proceedings against Valcke "on suspicion of various acts of criminal mismanagement and other offences" in relation to two matters investigated by Fifa's ethics committee.

The PSG soccer club's Qatari owners are trying to build a global sports brand.

In the three-year Swiss investigation of worldwide soccer, prosecutors said Thursday they have details of 180 suspicious transactions through banks in the country and opened "around 25" criminal proceedings.

Valcke was FIFA's secretary general under then-president Sepp Blatter from 2007 until he was sacked in January 2016.