After more than three months of waiting, Nasser Al-Khelaïfi is finally decided on his fate. The Court of Appeal of the Federal Criminal Court (TPF) of Bellinzona (Switzerland) confirmed, on Friday 24 June, the acquittal of the boss of Paris-Saint-Germain (PSG) and BeIN Media Group, who appeared in March for “aggravated instigation to abusive management “. The Qatari leader had already been acquitted, in October 2020, by the TPF in the context of the criminal proceedings opened in 2017 by the Public Prosecutor of the Confederation (MPC), for the granting of the television rights of the FIFA World Cup. and 2030 on the Qatari channel BeIN Sports.
“After a relentless six-year campaign by the prosecution – each time ignoring the fundamental facts and the law – our client was, once again, completely and completely exonerated. Years of unfounded accusations, fictitious accusations and relentless defamation have turned out to be completely and completely unfounded – twice “says Marc Bonnant, one of Al-Khelaïfi’s lawyers.
“This is another very important victory against the Public Prosecutor of the Confederation, this time obtained in front of the highest authority of the CFI”adds Grégoire Mangeat, another councilor from Qatar.
Jérôme Valcke convicted in a separate case
The former French general secretary of the International Football Association (FIFA), Jérôme Valcke, was also acquitted of the charge of “aggravated unfair management”. On the other hand, he was sentenced to eleven months of imprisonment with suspended sentence with two years of probation for “repeated passive bribery” and “repeated forgery of titles” in the context of a separate file in relation to the attribution of rights. televisions.
In 2020, Mr. Valcke had been acquitted of corruption charges and sentenced to a suspended fine for “false title”. Contrary to the first instance ruling, the Frenchman is no longer required to return € 1.75 million to FIFA. The latter being “reported to act with civilian means”.
The lawyers of Mr. Valcke, Patrick Hunziker and Elisa Bianchetti, announced their intention to appeal to the Federal Court of Lausanne: “The guilty verdict is therefore in no way definitive. “
They deplore the “turn around” of the TPF Court of Appeal on “private corruption”: “It is a mistake and a fantasy. All the documents in the file and all the witnesses testify that, as extraordinarily favorable to FIFA and unparalleled, the contracts were approved at all levels of FIFA for objective reasons and without any intention of injury. “
Exclusive use of Villa Bianca
In March, the prosecutor Cristina Castellote had requested respectively twenty-eight months of imprisonment and thirty-five months of imprisonment against MM. Al-Khelaïfi and Valcke without attaching them to a partial suspension. The prosecution concluded that in exchange for the granting of television rights to BeIN in 2014 for the 2026 and 2030 World Cups, Mr. Valcke had benefited from Mr. Al-Khelaïfi “undue advantages” for a value between 1.4 million and 2.3 million euros, of which “exclusive use without rent”from March 2014 to September 2015, from Villa Bianca in Sardinia.
According to the Swiss prosecutor, it was the PSG executive who bought the Villa Bianca in 2013, against 5 million euros, through a Qatari company, Golden Home Real Estate, of which he “was the sole shareholder and signatory”. For the prosecution, Mr. Al-Khelaïfi allowed Mr. Valcke, whom he hoped to become after two years “legal owner” property, to recover a deposit of 500,000 euros previously paid.
In March, the prosecutor recalled the reasons for the court ruling. The TPF then concluded “Despite the criminal acquittal they benefited from”, which MM. Al-Khelaïfi and Valcke “entered into a corrupt agreement” and found the defendants “Engaged in improper and illegal behavior (…) and violated a standard of conduct of the Swiss legal system “.
Withdrawal of the FIFA complaint for private corruption
The magistrate recalled that FIFA chaired by Gianni Infantino “has come to the point of retreating [en 2020, en vertu d’un accord à l’amiable avec le Qatari contre une compensation financière] his criminal complaint against Al-Khelaïfi for private corruption after the final hearing and the notice of the imminent closure, at a time when he was able to learn all the facts and the entire file “, and “He also refrained from drawing civil conclusions against him”.
M.myself Castellote observed “That aware of the MPC, the facts (…) to date they have not given rise to disciplinary or ethical proceedings by FIFA against Al-Khelaïfi, nor a fortiori to any sanction “. And this while other former FIFA leaders prosecuted by the Swiss prosecutor, including his former boss, Sepp Blatter, his former vice president, Michel Platini, and Jérôme Valcke, have been suspended by the FIFA Ethics Committee.
Al-Khelaïfi is not done justice: Qatar is still indicted in France for active corruption as part of the judicial investigation opened by the National Prosecutor of Finance on the suspicions on the Doha candidacy for the organization of the 2017 and 2019 World Athletics Championships .
As for Mr. Valcke, he is the subject of two criminal proceedings by the Swiss Public Prosecutor’s Office for “suspicions of unfair management”. In March, the Zurich prosecutor’s office formalized the opening of a criminal investigation against MM. Blatter and Valcke for “suspicions of unfair management” following a complaint filed in December 2020 by FIFA “In relation to the FIFA museum project”.