PSG president again acquitted of corruption crimes

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The president of beIN Media and Paris Saint-Germain, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, was once again acquitted of corruption crimes related to television rights business, in an appeal judged by the Federal Court of Bellinzona, Switzerland.

Frenchman Jérôme Valcke, former FIFA Secretary General, was also acquitted again, as had happened in the trial at first instance, but was sentenced to 11 months in prison, with a suspended sentence, for passive corruption, in a different case.

In March, the Swiss prosecutor’s office had asked for 28 months in prison for Al-Khelaifi and 35 months for Valcke, accusing them of having established a “corrupt deal” for the awarding of television rights to the 2026 World Cup to beIN and 2030

Swiss justice also accused Al-Khelaifi, 48, and Valcke, 61, of having made a pact without the knowledge of the world football regulatory body, which constituted a crime of harmful management, punishable by up to five years. of prison.

The appeal court ruled, as had happened in the first instance, that FIFA was not harmed, a legally necessary aspect to frame the crime of harmful management, taking into account the amount agreed with beIN Media.

“The verdict is fully justified. After a relentless campaign by the prosecution for six years – which has always ignored the facts and the law – our client has once again been completely exonerated,” Marc Bonnant, one of three lawyers for Al-Khelaifi in this case, said in statements. to AFP.

In the first judgment, the court estimated that Valcke supported the granting of television rights to the beIN channel in exchange for a luxurious mansion on the Costa Smeralda of Sardinia, purchased for him at the end of 2013 for five million euros by a company of Al -Khelaifi.

The former FIFA Secretary General admitted that he asked the Qatari businessman for help to finance ‘Villa Bianca’, a few months before the signing, in April 2014, of a contract between beIN and the body that manages world football relating to the broadcasting rights for the 2026 and 2030 World Cups for North Africa and the Middle East. The former French leader assured that the facts are not related.

The magistrates qualified the relationship as “bribery”, however the court cannot convict for “corruption”, as FIFA withdrew its complaint in January 2020, following an agreement with Al-Khelaïfi, the terms of which were never disclosed.

Valcke was convicted in another case, for having received 1.25 million euros from Dinos Deris, to favor the Greek businessman in the attribution of television rights to several editions of the Football World Cups in Greece and Italy, having recorded this amount as loans.

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