Al-Khelaifi arrived at the federal criminal trial in Switzerland

The former FIFA official, Jérôme Valcke, and Qatari football executive, Nasser al-Khelaifi, were arrived on Monday at the federal criminal trial in Switzerland at the beginning of their corruption court.

Indeed, Al-Khelaifi, the president of Paris Saint-Germain and president of beIN Media Group based in Doha, and Valcke arrived at the court separately and they spoke publicly. It was not expected that a third defendant, Dinos Deris, Greek marketing agency executive, also known as Konstantinos Nteris, attended the start of the trial. The three men were denied the charges, so it’s expected that the trial continues two weeks and a verdict is expected in late October.

It should be noted that Al-Khelaifi faces a lower charge which was the incitation of Valcke when he was FIFA secretary-general to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement. Moreover, during a formal investigation since 2017, Swiss prosecutors asked al-Khelaifi on suspicion of giving bribery to Valcke using a luxury villa in Sardinia in 2014 and 2015.

At that time, FIFA restored the broadcast rights of beIN’s World Cup in the Middle East and North Africa for the 2026 and 2030 tournaments without any competitive bids. Therefore, the deal was judged as good for FIFA within the industry while beIN paying more than the then-market value.

Otherwise, FIFA removed its criminal complaint about possible bribery when it making a financial agreement with al-Khelaifi before prosecutors published the list of charges in February. Whereas, Valcke and Deris are accused of bribery in another case not involving beIN or al-Khelaifi.

Prosecutors declared that Valcke took three bribes in a total of 1.25 million euros ($1.48 million) to direct World Cup rights toward preferred broadcasters in Italy and Greece. He is also accused of falsifying documents by seizing the payments to his private company as loans. Valcke was prohibited from working in Football by the FIFA ethics committee in 2016 because of different behavior from the charges that he currently faces.

In fact, Al-Khelaifi, a minister in Qatar’s government, has become more powerful in world Football since the Swiss criminal proceeding against him which was revealed three years ago. He is currently a member of the UEFA executive committee that will meet next week in Budapest, Hungary, in the trial.

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