Valcke probed for corruption

13 October 2017 - 10:09 By Reuters
SUSPECT Former Fifa secretary-general Jerome Valcke at the Court of Arbitration for Sport,  in Lausanne, Switzerland, this week Picture: AFP  PHOTO
SUSPECT Former Fifa secretary-general Jerome Valcke at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, in Lausanne, Switzerland, this week Picture: AFP PHOTO

Swiss prosecutors said on Thursday that they had opened a criminal investigation into the activities of former Fifa secretary-general Jerome Valcke and of Nasser al-Khelaifi, chief executive of Qatar's beIN Media, focused on corruption linked to World Cup broadcasting rights.

Barry Bercke, Valcke's US lawyer, refused to comment and beIN's representatives in Qatar and Paris did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Swiss Office of the Attorney-General said it had begun an investigation in March of Valcke, al-Khelaifi - who is also CEO and chairman of the Paris Saint-Germain soccer team - and an unnamed businessman. They were suspected of bribery, fraud, criminal mismanagement and forgery, the office said.

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

French prosecutors said they had searched beIN's offices in Paris on Thursday.

In Greece, a judicial source said: "It is suspected that Jerome Valcke accepted undue advantages from a businessman in the sports-rights sector in connection with the awarding of media rights for certain countries at the Fifa World Cups of 2018, 2022, 2026 and 2030, and from Nasser al-Khelaifi in connection with the awarding of media rights for certain countries at the Fifa World Cups in 2026 and 2030."

The Swiss attorney-general said last year that Valcke was suspected of criminal mismanagement and other offences. He has denied wrongdoing.

Fifa has been trying to overhaul its operations in the wake of the indictment in the US of officials on corruption-related charges. 

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