September 25 – The verdict in the high-profile trial involving former FIFA number two Jerome Valcke and Paris Saint-Germain president and beIN Media supremo Nasser Al-Khelaifi regarding alleged corruption in the allocation of World Cup TV rights will be released on October 30.
The nine-day trial of both figures ended on Thursday with Switzerland’s federal criminal court announcing when they will discover their fate.
Al-Khelaifi, who is also a member of UEFA’s executive committee, is accused of providing Valcke with the use of a luxury villa in Sardinia in exchange for lucrative World Cup broadcasting rights.
Prosecutors have asked for Al-Khelaifi to get a 28-month sentence, with all but four months suspended, for inciting Valcke as FIFA’s then-secretary general to commit “aggravated criminal mismanagement”.
Al-Khelaifi denies the charges that the villa was in any way linked to BeIn’s $480 million deal with FIFA for the 2026 and 2030 tournaments, a record amount for the Middle East and North Africa and significantly above FIFA’s target of $435 million for the region.
The Swiss prosecutor said Al-Khelaifi acquired the house for €5 million via a company that was transferred almost immediately to the brother of one of his close collaborators, before it was made available to Valcke.
However, Al-Khelaifi’s lawyers said he never owned the villa. They argued Valcke approached him to see if he wanted to invest in the villa which he declined but introduced him to another party who might want to invest. Al-Khelaifi’s role was that of introducer and unconnected to media rights. The villa was a “private” arrangement (made in 2014) between two other parties.
The defence team said the alleged “incitement” by Al-Khelaifi of Valcke not to report any advantage internally has no evidence to support it, indeed, they say the charge makes no sense – why would Al-Khelaifi encourage Valcke to cover up what was a big deal for FIFA?
“For the first time since this investigation began nearly 4 years ago, Nasser Al-Khelaifi’s defence has finally been heard. Each and every flaw and contradiction in the prosecution’s case was presented. The 2026 / 2030 media rights deal was outstanding for FIFA, far from being an undervalue. The villa was never owned by Mr Al-Khelaifi, far from being an undue influence. Most fundamentally – the only charge against Mr Al-Khelaifi is “incitement” of Valcke to not report matters; not a single element of incitement has been proven,” said the Qatari’s lawyer in Switzerland, Marc Bonnant.
“The complete acquittal of Mr. Al-Khelaifi has been demanded today, and emphatically so,” said Bonnant.
Valcke, too, denies charges of mismanagement and – in a separate matter not involving Al-Khelaifi – bribery and falsifying documents. Those charges relate to Valcke allegedly taking kickbacks totalling €1.25 million linked to World Cup rights in Greece and Italy.
Prosecutors asked for a three-year sentence, partially suspended, for Valcke – still serving a 10-year FIFA ban for ethics violations – and 30 months for Dinos Deris, a marketing executive based in Athens. Deris did not attend the trial citing health reasons.
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