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Swiss court finds ex-FIFA executive took bribes

Jerome Valcke outside the courthouse
Valcke has been found guilty of further offences relating to the award of football media rights. ©ti-press

Former FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke has been handed an 11-month suspended prison sentence after being found guilty of accepting bribes and forging documents in connection with World Cup football broadcasting deals.

Valcke had been cleared of the more serious offence of bribery in 2020 but the Swiss Court of Appeal has dealt out a more severe custodial sentence together with a fine after finding the French national guilty. Valcke was cleared of a yet more serious offence of aggravated criminal mismanagement in his former role as the second most senior official at world football’s governing body.

Prosecutors, who had brought the appeal, had demanded a 35-month sentence against Valcke.

Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, president of the French football team Paris St Germain and the beIN Media company, was acquitted of related corruption charges, the appeals court announced on Friday after hearing two separate cases into the allegations. This ruling upholds a not guilty verdict of the lower court in 2020.

A third defendant, a Greek businessman, was handed a 10-month suspended sentence after being found guilty of offering bribes.

The cases revolved around allegations that Valcke was given rent-free use of a holiday home on an Italian island with Al-Khelaïfi’s help.

The Court of Appeal found that FIFA was not financially damaged by the dishonest activities as it would not have been able to secure a more advantageous media rights deal that it struck with beIN.

Valcke, who served as FIFA Secretary General from 2007 to 2015, is currently serving a 10-year ban from all football related activities.

On June 26, Valcke’s lawyers said they would mount an appeal against the verdict in the Supreme Court.

In a separate case also being heard in Switzerland, ex-FIFA head Sepp Blatter and the former boss of European football, Michel Platini, are facing allegations of corruption. The verdict is this case is expected next month.

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