Second FIFA trial opens in Bellinzona

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Second FIFA trial opens in Bellinzona


The trial of former FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke, Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and a Greek businessman begins Monday morning before the Federal Criminal Court.


Former FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke and Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.


© AFP
Former FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke and Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.


Defended by Me Patrick Hunziker, the former secretary general responds to aggravated unfair management, false titles and passive corruption, all repeatedly. He is accused of having accepted undue advantages from the two other defendants in connection with the allocation of TV rights to several World Cups and other FIFA competitions.

Thus, Jérôme Valcke would have been promised in 2013 by Nasser Al-Khelaifi the exclusive use of a villa in Sardinia acquired for him by the boss of Bein Media Group, which notably owns the Al-Jazeera channel. The “Villa Bianca”, worth 5 million euros, was to be ceded in full ownership to the French after two years of cordial agreement between the two men.

No tender

According to the indictment, the right-hand man of former FIFA president Sepp Blatter pledged to do everything in his power to ensure that Al Jazeera Sports, renamed Bein Sports in the meantime, obtained the rights to the 2026 and 2030 Cups for the Middle East and North Africa. Concretely, Jérôme Valcke would have directly engaged in negotiations with the Qatari group, without launching a call for tenders as provided for by the regulations of the federation.

As for the Greek businessman, he is accused of having made three payments totaling 1.25 million euros to Sportunited, of which Jérôme Valcke was the sole shareholder. These payments were intended to guarantee MP & Silva the TV rights to the 2018, 2022, 2026 and 2030 World Cups for Italy and to several other competitions.

Masked accounts

The granting of these advantages justifies, according to the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Confederation (MPC), the appearance of Nasser Al-Khelaifi for instigation of aggravated unfair management. The Qatari will be defended by the Geneva duo formed by Mes Grégoire Mangeat and Marc Bonnant. As for the businessman represented by Me Ilias Bissias, he also responds to repeated active corruption.

Beyond the acceptance of these advantages, Jérôme Valcke is accused of forgery in repeated titles for having disguised the balance sheet of his company Sportunited by qualifying as loans the corrupted payments received.

FIFA has filed a civil action. She is claiming from her former secretary general a sum of 1.4 to 2.3 million euros corresponding to the use of the Villa Bianca and other advantages, as well as, jointly and severally with the Greek businessman, an amount of 1.25 million euros.

The prosecution has not yet announced the sentences it intends to claim. Federal Prosecutor Joël Pahud will reveal them during his indictment.

Prescription

As in the first FIFA trial which ended this spring, this action is also threatened by the limitation period which will take place in November 2020.

Like former leaders of the German Football Association (DFB) Theo Zwanziger, Horst R. Schmidt and Wolfgang Niersbach as well as his FIFA predecessor Urs Linsi, Jérôme Valcke tried to play the clock. He thus multiplied the demands for recusal against the former Attorney General of the Confederation Michael Lauber and his collaborators. In vain.

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