Swiss prosecutors interview Al-Khelaifi over World Cup deals
By Brian Homewood
BERN (Reuters) - Swiss prosecutors on Wednesday began interviewing Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the chief executive of Qatar's beIN media, as part of a criminal investigation into World Cup broadcasting deals.
The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) said on Oct. 12 that it suspected that FIFA's banned former Secretary General Jerome Valcke had accepted "undue advantages" from Al-Khelaifi in connection with the award of media rights for the 2026 and 2030 competitions.
Al-Khelaifi is also president of French club Paris Saint Germain. Valcke, who was in charge of the day-to-day running of Swiss-based global soccer body FIFA, is also under investigation.
Neither has been charged and both deny wrongdoing.
OAG spokesman Andre Marty confirmed that Al-Khelaifi had arrived. He said questioning would last for several hours "due to the translation issues and the many questions we have".
"The world of football will have to be patient as to the results of this first interrogation," Marty told reporters gathered in front of the OAG offices.
BeIN Media has rejected all the allegations and said it is cooperating with officials.
Valcke is serving a 10-year ban from soccer after he was found guilty by FIFA's former ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert of misconduct over the sale of World Cup tickets, abuse of travel expenses, attempting to sell TV rights below their market value and destruction of evidence.
He has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
FIFA has been trying to overhaul its operations in the wake of the worst crisis in its history, sparked in 2015 by the indictment in the United States of several dozen soccer officials on corruption-related charges.
(Editing by Peter Graff)