Swiss prosecutors appeal against verdicts in FIFA trial

FIFA headquarters in Zurich Keystone / Steffen Schmidt

Prosecutors in Switzerland have appealed against federal court verdicts that cleared Jérôme Valcke, a former official at world football’s Zurich-based governing body FIFA, of bribery and acquitted Qatari soccer and broadcasting executive Nasser al-Khelaïfi on a lesser charge.

This content was published on February 17, 2021 - 11:41

The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland said on Tuesday it had appealed to the Court of Appeal of the Federal Criminal Court against a ruling given in October.

Al-Khelaïfi, president of Champions League runner-up Paris Saint-Germain and a member of UEFA’s executive committee, had denied a single charge of inciting Valcke to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement while Valcke was FIFA’s secretary general.

That charge related to Valcke getting rent-free use of a holiday home on an Italian island which the court said was bought in 2013 by Qatari interests with Al-Khelaïfi’s help.

Valcke was cleared of a criminal mismanagement charge but found guilty by three judges in a separate matter not involving Al-Khelaïfi.

He was given a 120-day suspended sentence for forging documents linked to alleged kickbacks totalling €1.25 million (CHF1.35 million) from World Cup broadcasting deals in Italy and Greece. Valcke was acquitted of the most serious charge of bribery.

Wide investigation

The two-week trial in September was the first completed criminal proceedings in Switzerland among at least 25 opened by federal prosecutors since 2015 in their wide investigation of FIFA and international football officials.

The Swiss attorney general’s office said it appealed against the verdicts this month after receiving the judges’ full written verdict in January.

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