(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Nasser Al Khelaifi, head of international pay-television giant beIN Media Group, has received a boost as he seeks to clear his name in a corruption investigation in Switzerland with the country's federal court having yesterday rejected a prosecution case against the Qatari executive, said a statement.
Last month, Al Khelaifi, who is also the president of French soccer giants Paris Saint-Germain, was cleared of bribery in a probe that also involves Jérôme Valcke, the disgraced former secretary general of FIFA, and a third unnamed accused, and relates to payments alleged to have been made for media rights for major tournaments.
However, a secondary charge of inciting Valcke to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement was maintained.
In the case that was still being prosecuted, the advantages alleged to have been received by Valcke included being allowed to live rent-free for 18 months in a villa in Sardinia in Italy that Al Khelaifi was said to have bought through a company, which should have cost between €900,000 and €1.8mn.
The Qatari official has continued to deny any wrongdoing, and the Swiss federal court has rejected the secondary case, concluding that there was a lack of evidence of mismanagement by Valcke, so any alleged encouragement was irrelevant, that the business affairs between Valcke and Al Khelaifi were private and personal, and not to do with FIFA, and that the federation did not suffer financial damage. The prosecutor has 10 days to appeal against the ruling.
Al Khelaifi and the unnamed third accused were alleged to have given Valcke 'undue advantages in return for the granting of rights in Italy and Greece to FIFA World Cup and Confederations Cup competitions between 2018 and 2030.
Valcke, who is already serving a FIFA-imposed ban from soccer, has been charged with accepting bribes, aggravated criminal mismanagement and falsification of documents. The third accused, 'a businessman in the sports rights sector, has also been charged with bribery.
Charges of bribery against Al Khelaifi relating to beIN's big-money acquisition of media rights in the Middle East and North Africa to the 2026 and 2030 World Cups were dropped in February.
At the time, the Qatari executive, who is now a member of the UEFA executive committee, maintained he was totally innocent, and expected what he described as the 'secondary technical charge to ' be proven completely groundless and without any substance whatsoever, in the same way as the primary case.
Also worth noting that beIN Media Group Chairman, Nasser Al Khelaifi has committed to support the WHO and its initiatives by using world renowned global brands such as beIN Media Group, Miramax and Paris Saint Germain to educate public and raise awareness to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Al Khelaifi has been constantly in touch with the WHO's Director General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom and the latter praised beIN, Miramax and Paris Saint Germain's help and support in raising awareness.
The giants from Paris, PSG have also recently raised over €200,000 (S$315,700) for local healthcare professionals battling the coronavirus outbreak with the release of a limited edition jersey. The club confirmed on twitter that they had sold out a batch of 1,500 shirts via their online store on March 26 night, with all the proceeds going to Assistance Publique Hopitaux de Paris.
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