The Swiss prosecution on Tuesday demanded prison sentences against the president of beIN Media and PSG, Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, as well as against the former number two of FIFA Jérôme Valcke, a first in Europe in the scandals of world football .
After a week of hearing before the Federal Criminal Court of Bellinzona, the prosecution demanded 28 months imprisonment against Mr. Al-Khelaïfi and 3 years against Mr. Valcke, both of whom faced five years in prison.
This indictment, which must be followed Wednesday and Thursday by defense pleadings, is the most severe pronounced on European soil in the multiple cases that undermine football, while the United States has already sent two former Latin American leaders behind bars.
Former right-hand man of fallen FIFA boss Sepp Blatter, Jérôme Valcke appears in two cases related to his quest for money to ensure a "cicada" lifestyle, summed up federal prosecutor Joël Pahud, cited by the Swiss agency Keystone-ATS.
In the first part, the prosecution accuses him of having requested the help of Nasser Al-Khelaïfi in the summer of 2013 to buy a luxurious villa in Sardinia, at a time when beIN was negotiating the extension of its media rights in North Africa and in the Middle East for the 2026 and 2030 Worlds.
- "Sublime" contract?
"Flagship personality of football", recalled the prosecution, Mr. Al-Khelaïfi had acquired the "Villa Bianca" for 5 million euros, via a company transferred almost immediately to the brother of one of his close associates, before the make available to Mr. Valcke.
The two men, who deny any "corruptive pact", hammered in front of the court that it was a "private" arrangement, unrelated to the contract finally concluded by beIN with Fifa in April 2014.
Above all, they have in turn portrayed a "golden" and even "sublime" agreement for the football body, since beIN paid 480 million dollars for two World Cups, or 60% more than for the Worlds. 2018 and 2022, when he was alone in the running.
Regardless, swept the floor: Mr. Valcke should have declared the assembly around the Villa Bianca to Fifa, and was therefore pushed by the boss of beIN to injure his employer - two offenses falling under "unfair management" and of "instigation" to this offense.
Joël Pahud also criticized Nasser Al-Khelaïfi for his "contempt for justice", considering that he had hardly collaborated in the debates by denying having bought the Sardinian house, despite the evidence gathered by the investigators.
- Valcke "suffered" -
The prosecution, however, could no longer accuse the two men of "corruption" due to an amicable agreement reached at the end of January between the Qatari leader and Fifa, which withdrew its complaint against him.
In a separate case involving television rights in Greece and Italy, Mr Valcke was on trial for receiving € 1.25 million in three installments from a Greek businessman, against whom 30 months of prison were required.
In total, the prosecution estimated that the former Canal + journalist had four times betrayed the trust placed in him by Fifa, but nevertheless found that he had already paid a heavy personal price for five years.
The 59-year-old Frenchman, who lives in Barcelona, "has suffered professionally in recent years. He has not found a job after Fifa," said Joël Pahud.
At the start of his hearing, Jérôme Valcke said he had not been able to open a bank account in Europe since 2017, had had to sell his yacht and jewelry and had his Porsche Cayenne stolen.
"I started an agricultural project in a country," he said, refusing to be more precise by referring to "two-three other attempts" of reconversion "polluted" by interventions from Fifa.
© 2020 AFP