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Fifagate: what to remember from the trial of Nasser Al-Khelaïfi


The trial of the president of BeIN Sports and PSG, who appeared at the same time as Jérôme Valcke, closed this Thursday evening. The lawyers

Nasser Al-Khelaïfi will be set for October 30 at 1:30 p.m., after more than a month of deliberation.

The president of PSG and BeIN Sports, against whom 28 months in prison including 14 to 22 months suspended sentence were requested, ended with the nine days of his trial in Bellinzona (Switzerland), in which he was accused of instigation of aggravated unfair management.

The Qatari leader is suspected by the Swiss prosecution of having incited Jérôme Valcke, the main accused, not to declare unfair advantages to Fifa.

In this case, a villa in Sardinia that he would have bought and then made available to the secretary general of the body to facilitate the allocation of TV rights.

"Very serene"

First masked and even surrounded by Plexiglas windows during his hearing, Nasser Al-Khelaïfi was able to finish his trial in more normal sanitary conditions, after the end of a quarantine linked to his arrival from Doha.

Assisted by a translator and speaking in his mother tongue, Arabic, the boss of BeIN and Paris Saint-Germain was not very verbose.

The start of the debates highlighted the many hats of the Qatari, listed by Le Temps: “I am president of Paris Saint-Germain, of BeIN Media Group, of the Qatar tennis federation.

Member of Qatar Sport Investment (QSI), Qatar Sport Authority (QSA), UEFA Executive Committee, Steering Committee of the Association of European Clubs (ECA).

Member of Miramax.

Minister of State.

And that's all I remember.

"NAK has lip service to his personal wealth:" 15 to 25 million dollars in annual income "(between 13 and 21 million euros) and" between 70 and 100 million "of personal wealth.

Accused of "contempt for justice" by the Attorney General Joël Pahud, Wednesday, Al-Khelaïfi remained "very serene" according to Grégoire Mangeat, one of his lawyers: "There is not a millimeter of arrogance in our client.

The prosecutors sometimes had inappropriate words, for example, when one of them seemed to regret that he had not lost any of his status and still has the confidence of the authorities.

It had the garb of resentment and a sort of adulterated fascination.

It also gave the awkward feeling of a trophy hunt, which I denounced during my argument.

I recalled the presumption of innocence and we concluded that our client was fully acquitted.


The parties have stuck to their position

This trial revolved a lot around suspicions of corruption ... of which neither Nasser Al-Khelaïfi nor Jérôme Valcke were accused in this case.

After an amicable, financial and secret agreement (nearly a million euros according to The Times), Fifa had withdrawn its complaint for corruption against the Qatari official.

This had forced the Swiss prosecutor's office to drop these charges and to prosecute the two men only for aggravated unfair management (Valcke) and incitement to this offense (Al-Khelaïfi).

A change in qualification that has not changed the convictions of prosecutors, incisive during their indictment.

"I pleaded the absence of any corruptive agreement, details Mr. Mangeat on the last day of the trial.

There is no longer any doubt that the BeIN Sports contract for the 2026 and 2030 World Cups is exceptional

(Editor's note: $ 480 million)


We also demonstrated that the entire process was flawless, from negotiations to conclusion of the contract.

No one has ever been able to prove that something particular happened on October 24, 2013

(Editor's note: date of a meeting between Al-Khelaïfi and Valcke at the headquarters of BeIN in Boulogne-Billancourt in the Hauts-de-Seine )

, while the prosecution sought to make it an inaugural temporary point where everything would have been decided and from which everything would have flowed.

Me Fanny Margairaz then demonstrated, piece by piece, that the Villa Bianca had never been acquired and financed by Nasser Al-Khelaïfi.

Me Marc Bonnant concluded our pleadings, in order to demonstrate the absence of instigation to an act of unfair management committed by Jérôme Valcke.


Hints of the Gulf crisis

The Swiss investigation suspected BeIN Sports of having wanted to secure exclusivity of TV rights in the Middle East, even though no competing group seemed able to oppose it.

This trial is part of the open conflict between Qatar and its neighbors (Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in particular) and where the image is essential.

Al-Arabiya, a Saudi channel based in Dubai, covered the proceedings in full.

Other Saudi media paid particular attention to it, focusing on the accusations against Nasser Al-Khelaïfi.

“This presence

(of the Saudi media)

entertained us well, assures Me Mangeat.

They were there every day to film the same people.

It is a lot of time wasted distilling false information.


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The support of the president of PSG has not always been outdone.

The situation came close to comedy before the imposing federal court of Bellinzona, when a sympathizer from Qatar came to disrupt the broadcasts of Al-Arabiya, portrait of the Emir of Qatar Tamim Al-Thani in hand, on his smartphone.

Al-Arabiya reporter was harassed by a person holding a picture of the emir of #Qatar in front of a Swiss criminal court where Nasser Al-Khelaifi (PSG owner & head of BeinSports) is being tried for corruption in obtaining football broadcasting rights pic.

- بن هباس 🇸🇦 (@ 5a1di) September 17, 2020

Source: leparis

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