Swiss open probe against Al-Khelaifi

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Swiss prosecutors open up criminal proceedings against PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi over alleged bribery linked to World Cup broadcast rights.

Qatari television executive Nasser al-Khelaifi is under investigation on suspicion of paying bribes to the former No. 2 official in world soccer in exchange for World Cup media rights, according to the Swiss attorney general.

Prosecutors claim that Valcke accepted the bribes from Al-Khelaifi with the intention of awarding media rights to "certain countries" for the World Cups due to be held in 2026 and 2030.

The new investigation - that which relates to Al-Khelaifi - is being conducted in partnership with authorities in France, Greece, Italy and Spain, and was opened in March 2017, the OAG said.

Valcke - who was interviewed on Thursday - is now in the process of appealing against his 10-year ban from football at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The Guardian has approached representatives for Khelaifi and Valcke for comment.

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The 43-year-old Al-Khelaifi is chairman of Qatar Sports Investments which has invested heavily in PSG.

After PSG's offseason spree signed off by Al-Khelaifi, European soccer body UEFA opened its own case into possible violation of soccer-specific rules created to curb excessive spending by clubs on transfer fees and wages. The scandal unseated top leaders at FIFA, whose full name is the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, and cast a shadow over the World Cup, the planet's most popular sporting event.

Valcke was the right-hand man to disgraced former Federation Internationale de Football Association president Sepp Blatter, before being banned for 10 years over an alleged ticket scam at the 2014 World Cup.

In the three-year Swiss investigation of global soccer, prosecutors said Thursday they have details of 180 suspicious transactions through banks in the country and opened "around 25" criminal proceedings.

This week the court of arbitration for sport in Lausanne commenced hearing Valcke's appeal against his ban by Fifa's ethics committee.

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