Switzerland file bribery charge against Valcke, BeinSport

Switzerland file bribery charge against Valcke, BeinSport

Switzerland’s Attorney General office has charged former FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke with accepting bribes, several counts of aggravated criminal mismanagement, and falsification of documents in connection with the awarding of media rights.

The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland has also filed an indictment against BeIN Media Group chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi and a businessman in the sports rights sector who are both charged with inciting Valcke to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement, while the unnamed businessman also faces bribery charges.

Alleged offences

The investigations revealed that Valcke had received undue advantages from both co-accused.

Valcke was refunded the down payment of around EUR 500’000 that he had made to a third party on the purchase of a villa in Sardinia, after Al-Khelaifi had purchased the villa through a company instead of Valcke.

Valcke then received from Al-Khelaifi the exclusive right to use the villa for a period of 18 months – until he was suspended by FIFA – without having to pay an estimated rent in between about EUR 900’000 and about EUR 1.8 mio.

From the third accused Valcke received three payments totalling about EUR 1.25 mio to his company Sportunited LLC.
The charge of criminal mismanagement relates to the fact that Valcke had not reported the mentioned advantages that he received to FIFA, as he was required to do as its Secretary General, thus unlawfully enriching himself.

In this context, Al-Khelaifi and the third accused are charged with corresponding incitement.

In relation to the falsification of documents, Valcke is charged with causing the issuance of untruthful balance sheets for Sportunited LLC in 2013 and 2014, in that he had the three payments from the third accused entered as loans.

The charges of paying and accepting bribes are based on the allegation that between 2013 and 2015 Valcke exploited his position as Secretary General of FIFA to influence the award of media rights for Italy and Greece for various World Cup and FIFA Confederations Cup tournaments in the period between 2018 and 2030 in order to favour media partners that he preferred.

In return, the third accused promised and indeed made the aforementioned three payments to Valcke totalling EUR 1.25 mio.
On the other hand, the suspicion that Valcke accepted a luxury watch that Al-Khelaifi offered him in return for exerting his influence as Secretary General of FIFA was not found to be substantiated.

As a result, an abandonment of proceedings order in relation to this matter was issued in February 2020.

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