Swiss FIFA Probe Extends to Qatari TV Chief al-Khelaifi

Swiss FIFA Probe Extends to Qatari TV Chief al-Khelaifi

Switzerland's attorney general has opened the case against the Qatari businessman over concerns that he attempted to bribe ex-FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke for the rights to show the World Cup on BeIn Sports - the broadcasting company at which that Al-Khelaifi is chief executive.

The criminal proceedings, in effect an investigation rather than charges, has been ongoing since March 20 this year, the OAG said, adding that collectively Khelaifi, Valcke and the unnamed businessman are suspected of bribery, fraud, criminal mismanagement and forgery of a document.

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

Al-Khelaifi and Valcke previously worked on a deal for the 2018 and 2022 rights weeks after Qatar won the 2022 hosting vote.

Al Khelaifi's profile has risen in recent weeks as PSG pursued and sealed a world record transfer of Brazil forward Neymar from Barcelona for £198m.

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Findings obtained in that process have led to a separate line of inquiry involving Al-Khelaifi, who is CEO of beIN Media Group.

After PSG's offseason spree signed off by Al-Khelaifi, European soccer body UEFA opened its own case into possible violation of soccer-specific rules created to curb excessive spending by clubs on transfer fees and wages.

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.

Valcke, a French national, was in Switzerland on Wednesday arguing an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, where he was trying to overturn his 10-year ban from football over graft.

The Frenchman, whose job was to ensure the smooth running of Federation Internationale de Football Association, and in particular the World Cup, was the right-hand man to now banned president Sepp Blatter before both were embroiled in a corruption scandal which swept Federation Internationale de Football Association in 2015.

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