Ex-FIFA Official Convicted In TV Rights Trial - Sources
Former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke was found guilty on Friday of falsifying documents, in a corruption case linked to the awarding of World Cup TV rights, sources and Swiss media said.
The chairman of Qatar-based media group BeIN Sports Nasser Al-Khelaifi, was acquitted the same day in a related case.
Valcke was cleared of accepting bribes and criminal mismanagement but was given a 120-day suspended sentence for the lesser offence of falsification of documents, Swiss newspaper Le Matin and a source with knowledge of the case said.
Valcke, who has denied wrongdoing, was secretary general of world soccer’s ruling body for eight years until 2015. His lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.
The Swiss attorney general’s office had alleged that between 2013 and 2015 Valcke exploited his FIFA role to influence the award of media rights for various World Cup and Confederations Cup tournaments “to favour media partners that he preferred”.
It said Valcke also had the exclusive use of a villa belonging to Al-Khelaifi in Sardinia for 18 months, without having to pay a rent estimated at 900,000-1.8 million euros ($1.06-$2.13 million).
Valcke’s conviction was the first for Swiss prosecutors since they began investigating corruption surrounding FIFA in 2015, when the global soccer body became embroiled in the biggest scandal in its history.
Al-Khelaifi, who is also president of French club Paris St Germain and sits on the executive committee of European soccer body UEFA, was cleared of a charge of inciting Valcke to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement.
His trial at the Swiss Federal Criminal Court, which has yet to release an official notice on the ruling, was not connected to Al-Khelaifi’s role at Paris St Germain.
“After a relentless four-year campaign against me that ignored the basic facts and the law at every turn – I have finally, fully and completely cleared my name. Today’s verdict is a total vindication,” Al-Khelaifi said in a statement issued by his lawyer.
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