Keyword: Qatar

Boss of top French football club PSG faces questions over commission for player's agent


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.

Document implicates Qatari ruler's chief aide in athletics 'corruption' probe


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.

French anti-corruption police quiz Platini over Qatar World Cup vote

Former UEFA boss Michel Platini was held in custody by anti-corruption police in Paris on Tuesday questioning, along with a former advisor to ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy and Sarkozy's close aide and former minister Claude Guéant, as part of investigations into the controversial  attribution to Qatar of the 2022 football World Cup in a vote by FIFA officials in 2010.

How Qatar used an anti-corruption organisation to spy on its rivals

By , Mathieu Martiniere and Robert Schmidt (We Report)
Mohammed Hanzab, president of the ICSS, based in Doha, Qatar. © ICSS Mohammed Hanzab, president of the ICSS, based in Doha, Qatar. © ICSS

In just a few years the International Centre for Sport Security, an NGO based in Doha, has made a name for itself in the global fight against corruption in sport. But Football Leaks reveals a hidden side to this organisation which is funded by the Qatari state and which works with the United Nations, the Council of Europe and Sorbonne University in Paris. In April 2015 former police officers working for the ICSS went to Lausanne to tail one of the key figures in world sport, the Kuwaiti sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah. Mediapart's Antton Rouget and Mathieu Martinière and Robert Schmidt from independent journalistic collective We Report investigate.

UEFA bosses helped cover up PSG 'financial fair play’ fraud

By and
PSG general manager Jean-Claude Blanc (left) with the club’s president Nasser Al-Khelaifi. © Reuters PSG general manager Jean-Claude Blanc (left) with the club’s president Nasser Al-Khelaifi. © Reuters

Over several years, Qatar injected 1.8 billion euros into French football club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in a massive breach of the Financial Fair Play regulations of European association football’s governing body UEFA. Mediapart reveals here the background to the affair and how the then president of UEFA, Michel Platini, and his secretary general, Gianni Infantino, who is now president of FIFA, helped cover up the fraud, allowing the club to escape exclusion from the prestigious and lucrative Champions League.

The Middle East power battle behind Tunisia-UAE airline spat

Grounded: Tunis-Carthage International Airport, December 25th. © Reuters Grounded: Tunis-Carthage International Airport, December 25th. © Reuters

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) last Friday announced a ban on all women and girls travelling with Tunisian passports to the Gulf state on its national airline Emirates and sister carrier Etihad, citing fears of a terrorist attack. While the ban was lifted after just hours, following outrage in Tunisia and from passengers stranded worldwide, the Tunisian government responded at the weekend with a ban of all UAE flights to and from Tunis. But the events are far from an anecdotal spat, for behind the row is the far deeper conflict of a power battle in the Middle East. Lilia Blaise reports.

FIFA World Cup 'bribery' probe focuses on Monaco bank account

By Geoffrey Livolsi Et Yann Philippin
The celebrations after FIFA announced on December 2nd 2010 that Qatar would host the 2022 World Cup. © Reuters The celebrations after FIFA announced on December 2nd 2010 that Qatar would host the 2022 World Cup. © Reuters

US and Brazilian investigators have discovered a payment from Qatar of 22 million dollars made to a former executive committee member of world football governing body FIFA shortly after he and his colleagues controversially awarded the Gulf state the 2022 World Cup, well-informed sources have told Mediapart. The payment was made to Ricardo Teixeira, former head of the Brazilian Football Confederation and paid into his account with the Pasche Monaco bank in Monte Carlo, which was then a subsidiary of French bank Crédit Mutuel-CIC. Geoffrey Livolsi and Yann Philippin report.

Airbus's 80 million-euro golden parachute to former executive

By and
Jean-Paul Gut, director of EADS International and group strategy until June 2007. © dr Jean-Paul Gut, director of EADS International and group strategy until June 2007. © dr

The former commercial director of EADS – now Airbus – Jean-Paul Gut, who set up the commercial and marketing system that is now at the centre of parallel corruption investigations by French and British police, received a 'golden parachute' of around 80 million euros, it can be revealed. A joint investigation by Mediapart and German weekly Der Spiegel also shows that the European aerospace group was willing to continue using Gut as a highly-paid consultant even after he left his lucrative post in 2007.

The bitter infighting behind the election of UNESCO's new director general

Audrey Azouley at UNESCO's Paris headquarters, October 13th 2017. © Reuters Audrey Azouley at UNESCO's Paris headquarters, October 13th 2017. © Reuters

Former French culture minister Audrey Azoulay was elected as the new director general of UNESCO on Friday, in a narrow victory over her Qatari rival Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari. Azoulay’s election to the top post at the UN science, education and culture agency was the result of a profound divide among its Arab member states, and served a severe blow to Qatar’s ambitions of influence on the world stage. René Backmann witnessed first-hand the tensions during the six rounds of voting, which at one point almost ended in a fist fight, and in this report of the events he analyses the tough tasks ahead for Azoulay amid the decision by the US and Israel to quit the organisation.

France calls for end to sanctions on Qatari nationals

French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, speaking in Qatar, where he met with his counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, called on Saturday for the lifting 'as soon as possible' of the sanctions against Qatari nationals imposed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt which affect 'bi-national families that have been separated or students'.

Blatter's final play: stopping Frenchman Michel Platini from heading FIFA

By Antoine Grynbaum
Michel Platini © Reuters Michel Platini © Reuters

Sepp Blatter, the head of football's ruling body FIFA, and former French star Michel Platini are now in the sights of the Swiss judicial authorities. Blatter is being investigated for “criminal mismanagement”, while questions have been raised over an allegedly “underhand” payment the Frenchman received from the FIFA boss. Football writer Antoine Grynbaum describes how the once-close relationship between the two men turned sour and what it means for Platini's own bid for football's top job.  

France and Qatar ink 6.4 bln-euro contract for 24 Dassault fighter jets

President François Hollande travelled to Doha to sign the Rafale deal, the fighter plane's third foreign contract after sales to Egypt, India.

France to sell 24 Rafale fighter jets to Qatar

Deal estimated in excess of €6bn is third such contract in under 3 months and highlights recent revival of the jet’s commercial prospects.

FIFA president says heat demands Qatar 2022 World Cup finals be played in winter

Sepp Blatter, who is to run for a second term of office as head of FIFA, told French radio 'we cannot play the World Cup in summer' in Qatar.

Paris denies French school is teaching sharia law in Qatar

Agreement between Lycée Voltaire in Doha and France does not involve changes to religion classes or dividing classes by sex, ministry insists.