ZURICH (Reuters) – Former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke and the chairman of Qatar-based media group BeIN Sports, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, have been charged in Switzerland in connection with the award of television rights for the World Cup and Confederations Cup, Swiss prosecutors said on Thursday.
Valcke, already banned by FIFA’s ethics committee for 10 years for ethics violations, was charged with accepting bribes, aggravated criminal mismanagement and falsification of documents, the Swiss Attorney General (OAG) office said in a statement.
Al-Khelaifi and a third person, an unnamed businessman, were charged with inciting Valcke to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement, the OAG said.
Valcke and Al-Khelaifi, who have both previously denied wrongdoing, could not immediately be reached for comment.
The statement said that between 2013 and 2015 Valcke exploited his FIFA role “to influence the award of media rights” for various World Cup and Confederations Cup tournaments “to favor media partners that he preferred”.
Valcke was secretary general of the world soccer’s ruling body for eight years until 2015 and oversaw the organization of the World Cup tournaments in South Africa in 2010 and Brazil in 2014.
FIFA was embroiled in the worst corruption scandal in its history in 2015 which led to its president Sepp Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini being banned from the sport while several dozen officials were indicted in the United States on corruption-related charges.