Ex-FIFA official convicted, PSG official cleared of Swiss corruption case

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A former senior FIFA official was convicted on Friday in a corruption case in Switzerland, while the president of Paris Saint-Germain was acquitted.

Jérôme Valcke was found guilty of a minor charge of forgery of documents related to worldwide television broadcasts in Italy and Greece. He was acquitted of accepting bribes and criminal misconduct while he was FIFA’s Secretary General from 2007-15.

Valcke received a 120-day suspended sentence and was ordered to pay FIFA 1.75 million euros ($ 2 million) in restitution. Prosecutors had asked for a three-year sentence.

PSG president Nasser al-Khelaïfi, who is also a Qatari football and television director, was cleared of a single charge of inciting Valcke to commit aggravated criminal misconduct.

This charge was linked to Valcke’s use of a holiday home in Italy about six years ago. At that time, FIFA renewed the World Cup rights in the Middle East and North Africa for the Qatari television company beIN Media Group, which is led by al-Khelaïfi.

“Today’s verdict is a total justification,” al-Khelaïfi said in a statement. “It restores my belief in the rule of law and in due process after four years of baseless accusations, fictitious accusations and constant smearing of my reputation.”

Al-Khelaïfi, a minister in Qatar’s government and a member of UEFA’s executive committee, was not linked to the bribe against Valcke.

A third defendant, Greek marketing agent Dinos Deris, was acquitted on charges of active corruption with Valcke and inciting him.

Valcke’s conviction, albeit on a minor charge, is the first assured by Swiss prosecutors who began investigating FIFA and international football officials six years ago.

(AP)