Features 12th October 2017

Football: coordinated operation in several countries as part of a new proceeding

The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland has opened a criminal proceeding against the former Secretary General of FIFA and against the Chief Executive Officer of the BEIN MEDIA GROUP LLC in connection with the award of World Cup media rights. The criminal proceeding of the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) has been opened on 20 March 2017 against the former Secretary General of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Jérôme Valcke, the Chief Executive Officer of the BEIN MEDIA GROUP LLC Nasser Al-Khelaifi and a businessman in the sports rights sector, on suspicion of bribery of private individuals (Art. 4a para. 1 in conjunction with old Art. 23 Federal Act on Unfair Competition UWG), fraud (Art. 146 Swiss Criminal Code SCC), criminal mismanagement (Art. 158 para 1 SCC) and forgery of a document (Art. 251 SCC). It is suspected that Jérôme Valcke accepted undue advantages from a businessman in the sports rights sector in connection with the award of media rights for certain countries at the FIFA World Cups in 2018, 2022, 2026 and 2030 and from Nasser Al-Khelaifi in connection with the award of media rights for certain countries at the FIFA World Cups in 2026 and 2030.

As it announced in March 2016, the OAG is already conducting a proceeding against Jérôme Valcke, in particular on suspicion of various acts of criminal mismanagement (Art. 158 SCC). The information given by the OAG at that time can be found in the document below. This proceeding is still ongoing. The new proceeding has been opened primarily on the basis of findings obtained by the OAG in this earlier proceeding.

As part of the investigation opened in March 2017, on 12 October 2017 representatives of the OAG interviewed Jérôme Valcke in Switzerland as a suspect. At the same time, in cooperation with the competent authorities in France, Greece, Italy and Spain, properties were searched in various locations. In terms of the request for mutual legal assistance the OAG was in attendance when these procedures took place.

The coordinated operation was made possible through a EUROJUST coordination centre. The OAG would like to thank EUROJUST and the French, Greek, Italian and Spanish judicial authorities and fedpol for their valuable cooperation in this matter. No one has been on remand. The presumption of innocence applies.

To date, 180 MROS reports of suspected money laundering have been received in connection with the football investigations. The OAG is conducting around 25 criminal proceedings in the series of football-related investigations, and is currently analysing seized documents containing around 19 terabytes of data.

• This media release was originally published by the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland on 12 October 2017. To access the original, please click here.

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