The Paris public prosecution services are investigating two formal complaints, the latest filed on March 23rd, alleging that Nasser al-Khelaifi, president of the Paris Saint-Germain football club and also chairman of Qatari broadcaster BeIN Sports, illegally employed in France his former major-domo and an advisor by paying them through fake contracts as coaches with his Smash Tennis Academy in Doha. Khelaifi, one of the most powerful figures in world football, denies the accusations. Yann Philippin reports.
It is the latest development in a complex affair involving the French football club Paris Saint-Germain, the state of Qatar, a lobbyist, a former French intelligence agent and accusations of illicit espionage. The lobbyist in question, Franco-Algerian businessman Tayeb Benabderrahmane, was arrested and detained for several months in Doha in 2020 after having obtained confidential information belonging to the PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi. Tayeb Benabderrahmane was later able to leave Qatar after reportedly signing a secret agreement and handing over all the information he possessed. However, according to a document seen by Mediapart, the lobbyist had kept hold of some of the confidential information on the PSG boss and wanted to ask for 100 million euros from the emirate, who own PSG, in return for his silence. Tayeb Benabderrahmane, who faces separate allegations involving private and illicit investigations on behalf of the football club, denies all the claims. Yann Philippin reports.
An external agency paid by the Qatari-owned Paris club created an “army” of fake Twitter accounts which then carried out aggressive and foul-mouthed online smear campaigns, in particular against the media and some of the Paris football club's own leading figures. Mediapart and the sports newspaper L’Équipe were among the main targets. This “digital army” even had a go at PSG's French star Kylian Mbappé. Clément Fayol and Yann Philippin report.
Shortly after a committee of world football governing body FIFA in February 2015 controversially recommended that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar could be played in winter, the then FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke secretly met with Qatari businessman Nasser al-Khelaifi, president of French football club PSG and chairman of beIN Sports, who was thanked by Valcke hours later for a gift of a watch worth 40,000 euros, according to phone text messages revealed here by Mediapart. Al-Khelaifi denies he was behind the gift. Swiss prosecutors, meanwhile, have dropped their probe of the two men over suspected bribery, which included Valcke’s free use of a luxurious villa bought by al-Khelaifi in Sardinia. Yann Philippin reports.
In a confidential letter seen by Mediapart and the British daily newspaper The Guardian, the president of leading French football club PSG, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, requested the payment of a 2-million-euro commission to the agent of Argentine midfielder Javier Pastore in relation to the latter's transfer. The request was apparently made on the instructions of the current Emir of Qatar. If carried out, such a payment appears to breach both French football transfer regulations and the law. A company run by Al-Khelaifi's brother also asked for 200,000 dollars in 'expenses' over the transfer. Yann Philippin reports.
Confidential documents seen by Mediapart and British daily The Guardian suggest that the chief of staff of Qatari ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani was involved in negotiating payments that are suspected by a French judicial probe of being used in a corruption plot for the attribution of the World Championships of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). It also suggests that Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the chairman and CEO of BeIN Sport media group and president of French football club PSG, played a greater role in the alleged plot than he has hitherto told the French judicial investigation. Yann Philippin reports.
Nasser al-Khelaifi, president of Paris Saint-Germain football club and chairman of the beIN Media Group has been placed under investigation for "active corruption" over payments a company of his made to officials from the International Association of Athletics Federations during Qatar's bid to host the world athletics championships.