Jerome Valcke, former FIFA head, charged with corruption

DOHA, Dec. 22, 2019 (Xinhua) — Liverpool FC players celebrate with the trophy after the final of the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019 against Flamengo in Doha, capital of Qatar, Dec. 21, 2019. (Photo by Nikku/Xinhua/IANS)

Geneva, Feb 21 (IANS) The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) has accused former FIFA Secretary-General Jerome Valcke of corruption concerning the award of media rights.

The OAG released a statement on Thursday in which it specified Valcke was charged with “accepting bribes, several counts of aggravated criminal mismanagement, and falsification of documents”, reported Efe news.

During the investigation, BeIN Media Group CEO and Paris Saint Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and a businessman from the sports rights sector were also charged “with inciting Valcke to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement”.The businessman, whose identity remains unknown, also faces several bribery charges.

According to the indictment, between 2013 and 2015, Valcke used his influence as FIFA Secretary General in favour of media partners of his preference – in Italy and Greece- in connection to media rights for important football events planned for 2018-2030.
In exchange, the high-ranking official received 1.25 million euros in three payments, the OAG said.

The former FIFA head was allegedly refunded half a million euros that he had put down for a house in Sardinia, which was later bought through a company by Al-Khelaifi.

Valcke later got from Al-Khelaïfi the exclusive right to the use of the property for 18 months, when he was to be suspended from his FIFA position.

During that time Valcke did not pay rent, which would have amounted to 900,000 and 1.8 million euros. However, the dealings between Valcke and Al-Khelaïfi cannot be prosecuted by the Swiss Attorney General Office, since FIFA withdrew its criminal complaint against BeIN Media Group’s CEO and, partly, against Valcke.

FIFA ensured it had reached a “friendly agreement” with the Arabian businessman, although the details were not revealed.

Corruption between private parties was, in this particular case, prosecuted based on a complaint, so the “withdrawal of the complaint meant that a procedural requirement for the prosecution of these offences was no longer met,” the OAG said to explain why it had left this part of the case aside.

The investigation of the 1.25 million euros Valcke received is still an ongoing process.

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