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PSG president faces criminal investigation

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Swiss open criminal case against ex-FIFA official Valcke, beIN CEO

Swiss prosecutors on Thursday opened a criminal investigation into Paris Saint-Germain's chairman Nasser al-Khelaifi over suspected bribery linked to World Cup media rights.

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.

In a statement on Thursday, the OAG said the new proceedings involving Al-Khelaifi had been "opened on the basis" of its findings.

The proceeding against Al Khelaifi is one of the first direct links to Qatar in sweeping investigations by authorities in the United States, France and Switzerland of Fifa, global football, and the 2018-2022 World Cup bidding contests.

The 2018 and 2022 World Cup will be played in Russian Federation and Qatar respectively, while the 2026 and 2030 tournaments have not yet been awarded.

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According to the OAG, Valcke is also suspected of accepting advantages from the businessman for rights to the 2018, 2022, 2026 and 2030 editions.

Federation Internationale de Football Association has never announced if BeIN also secured any 2026 and 2030 World Cup rights. He became the chairman and chief executive officer of the French club, who broke the world transfer record to sign Neymar earlier this year, four months later.

Since FIFA's much-discredited executive committee picked Russian Federation and Qatar in December 2010, the gas-rich emirate has bought up PSG with sovereign wealth and installed Al-Khelaifi as president.

Valcke, a French national, was in Switzerland on Wednesday arguing an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, where he was trying to overturn his 10-year ban from football over graft.

"FIFA has constituted itself as a damaged party in this investigation", the Zurich-based organization said.

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