Qatar’s BeIN media chairman Nasser al-Khelaifi goes in Swiss court for FIFA corruption trial
FIFA’s former secretary general Jerome Valcke and Paris Saint-Germain chief Nasser Al-Khelaifi will go on trial in Switzerland on Monday to start of their corruption trial. They are accused for alleged corruption in the attribution of football broadcasting rights. The hearing has been delayed before because of the coronavirus pandemic, and it is scheduled to last until Friday at the Federal Criminal Court of Bellinzona.
FIFA’s president Sepp Blatter former right-hand, Jerome Valcke, appears in two separate cases of television rights corruption and he will be facing up to five years in prison if found guilty. He is allegedly accused transferring the Middle East and North Africa rights for screening the 2026 and 2030 World Cups to the Qatari giant beIN Media, in exchange for unjustified benefits from Al-Khelaifi.
The prosecutions said that, Al-Khelaifi allegedly pledge to buy a villa in Sardinia for five million euros, allowing its full use to Valcke but Al-Khelaifi, denies the charges. The prosecution affirms that Valcke promised to “do what was in his power” to make sure that beIN would become the regional broadcaster for the two World Cups, something which happened on April 29, 2014, in an agreement that FIFA has never since contested.
The prosecution had to let go of the amendment because of an “amicable agreement” reached at the end of January between FIFA and Al-Khelaifi, the contents of which have not been made public. Al-Khelaifi, one of the most prestigious men in world football, faces the accusation of “inciting Valcke to commit provoking criminal mismanagement,” and he could also face five years in prison.
Al-Khelaifi denies buying the property or pledging it to Valcke but Valcke, who allegedly stood to receive 1.25 million euros in exchange, “disputes the charges,” according to his lawyer Patrick Hunziker. The al-Khelaifi case is just the latest evidence of corruption by Qatari officials who use European football for their benefits and money laundering.