A Swiss court reported on Thursday that the verdict in the trial of Jerome Valcke and Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser al-Khelaifi about claims corruption in the allocation of World Cup TV rights will be announced on October 30.
The Swiss Federal Criminal Court of Bellinzona informed the reporters about the date after 10 days of hearings which the prosecutors appealed for prison sentences for both Valcke and al-Khelaifi. Prosecutors called on Tuesday to imprisonment Valcke for three years and a 28-month sentence for al-Khelaifi, who is also president of beIN Media.
In fact, it will be the first judgment issued in Switzerland, which constitute the seat of most international sports organizations, in the 20 or so proceedings opened in the last five years involving FIFA. Otherwise, Bellinzona has been investigating Valcke on two charges related to obtaining money to maintain what Federal Prosecutor Joel Pahud described a spendthrift lifestyle. Al-Khelaifi is also included in the first accusation.
The public prosecutor’s office declared that Valcke asked the Qatari’s aid in the summer of 2003 to buy a luxury villa in Sardinia, at a time when beIN, a broadcaster owned by Qatari, was negotiating the extension of its media rights in North Africa and the Middle East for the 2026 and 2030 World Cups. The prosecutor reported that al-Khelaifi took the house for five million euros ($5.85 million), through a company that was transferred almost immediately to the brother of one of his close collaborators, before it was made available to Valcke. While the two men rejected a corrupt agreement and declared that the deal was a private arrangement, unrelated to the contract achieved by beIN with FIFA in April 2014.
Indeed, the defense debated that the court was muddied by the revelation of informal meetings between former Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber and current FIFA president Gianni Infantino. Lauber quit his post in July and both men are under investigation for presumed cooperation.
Furthermore lawyers of Al-Khelaifi have informed AFP that the charges against their client are clearly artificial.
The Swiss prosecutors had obliged to drop a charge of corruption since a settlement outside the court in January between al-Khelaifi and FIFA, which then removed its complaint against him.