TV rights: the president of PSG, Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, again acquitted on appeal

The Qatari leader still risked, on Friday, up to 28 months in prison in this TV rights affair between beIN Group and Fifa.

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The president of beIN Media and Paris Saint-Germain, Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, was acquitted on appeal, Friday June 24, by the Federal Criminal Court of Bellinzona (Switzerland), as he had already been at first instance, in a TV rights case. His co-defendant, ex-Fifa number 2 Jérôme Valcke, was also acquitted, but received an eleven-month suspended prison sentence for “passive corruption” and “wrong in titles” in another case.

During the hearing before the appeals chamber in March, the prosecution had requested 28 months in prison against the 48-year-old Qatari leader, as well as 35 months against Valcke, accusing them of having established a “corrupt arrangement” behind Fifa’s back, under the “unfair management”. In this part, the prosecution estimated that Jérôme Valcke had monetized his support for the beIN channel, in exchange for a luxurious villa on the Sardinian Emerald Coast, bought for 5 million euros at the end of 2013 by a company briefly owned by Al -Khelaïfi.

The former secretary general of Fifa had requested the help of the Qatari leader to finance the “Villa Bianca”, a few months before the signing in April 2014 of a contract between beIN and the world football body relating to the rights in North Africa and the Middle East on the 2026 and 2030 World Cups. But as in the first instance, the Court of Appeal found that Fifa had not suffered any “shame”. A point legally necessary to establish unfair management.

In addition, beIN had signed a very advantageous contract for the body by paying 480 million dollars for the two editions, or 60% more than for the 2018 and 2022 Worlds, when it was alone in the running. “Today’s verdict is totally justified. After a relentless six-year campaign by the prosecution – which each time ignored fundamental facts and the law – our client has, once again, been fully and completely innocent”reacted Marc Bonnant, one of the three lawyers for the Parisian president, in a statement sent to AFP.

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