Qatar’s newly appointed prime minister is reportedly connected to an allegedly corrupt deal meant to bring top sports events to the country, according to French publication Mediapart and British newspaper The Guardian.
Prime Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa al-Thani, a member of Qatar’s royal family who also serves as interior minister, allegedly discussed a money transfer agreement with “disgraced” International Association Athletics Federation (IAAF) marketing consultant Papa Massata Diack just before a $3.4 million payment was made, according to The Guardian.
The payments, under investigation by French authorities, were made in October and November 2011, one month before the IAAF voted to decide the host country of the 2017 athletics world championships.
“French investigators suspect the payments may have been a bribe to win votes for Qatar for the event,” according to The Guardian report.
Nasser Al-Khulaifi, President of Paris Saint-Germain football club, has been under investigation for corruption since 2019 when it was announced that a former IAAF official had received two payments totaling the same amount that Sheikh Khalid al-Thani allegedly discussed with Diack.
In the alleged email obtained by The Guardian and Mediapart, Diack says, “You will find attached the bank details for the transfer of $4.5 million which must be done as agreed. The balance of 440,000 must remain in Doha in cash, I will pick it up the next time I come,” The Guardian reported.
Diack allegedly specified that the payment must be made “urgently today so that I can finalize things with the president,” The Guardian reported.
“The ‘president’ in question appears to be [Diack’s] father Lamine, who was at the time the IAAF president,” according to The Guardian.
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani appointed Sheikh Khalid al-Thani as the country’s new prime minister on Tuesday.