Swiss prosecutors have opened criminal proceedings into Paris St-Germain’s chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi.
The proceedings concern an ongoing investigation into former Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke and the sale of World Cup TV rights to BeInSports, of which Al-Khelaifi is chief executive.
The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) said in a statement on Thursday that new proceedings involving Al-Khelaifi had been “opened on the basis” of its findings in the Valcke investigation.
“It is suspected that Jerome Valcke accepted undue advantages from a businessman in the sports rights sector in connection with the award of media rights for certain countries at the FIFA World Cups in 2018, 2022, 2026 and 2030 and from Nasser Al-Khelaifi in connection with the award of media rights for certain countries at the FIFA World Cups in 2026 and 2030,” the statement read.
French newspaper L’Equipe has described Al-Khelaifi, who is also a key member of the organising committee for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, as “the most powerful man in French football”.
His profile rose considerably as a result of the world record transfer of Brazil star Neymar from Barcelona for £198m, in which he was instrumental.
Authorities in France, Greece, Italy and Spain are all cooperating in the investigation into Al-Khelaifi, the OAG said.
Valcke was interviewed in Switzerland as a suspect on Thursday, while the Paris offices of BeIN Sports were also searched as part of the criminal probe.