Fifagate: Brazilian Marin sentenced, focus now on Qatari al-Khelaifi

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A former South American soccer official convicted on corruption charges in the sprawling FIFA bribery scandal was sentenced in federal court to four years in prison on Wednesday.

Jose Maria Marin, a former president of Brazil's soccer federation, also was ordered to forfeit $3.3 million and pay a $1.2 million fine in connection with his participation in a scheme to accept bribes in exchange for the media and marketing rights to various soccer tournaments, according to the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.


According to experts, after Marin, eyes will go now to Switzerland where Qatari Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the French PSG’s chief is accused of bribing individuals to secure the lucrative broadcast rights for World Cup tournaments.

Experts say that the same tactics were used in both cases; the one related to Marin and the one being investigated by Swiss authorities.

Fifa's former secretary general Jerome Valcke has also been hit with charges alleging he took bribes to influence the outcome of the bidding rights auction.

One of Al-Khelaifi's other roles was as the head of Qatari television network beIN Sports, who were awarded the rights by Fifa. He is head of the Qatari State Investment fund which owns PSG. And he has also played a prominent role in the country's planning for the 2022 World Cup.

The charges in Switzerland relate to his role as chief executive of beIN Sports.

A statement from the Swiss Attorney General reveals then taht Al-Khelaifi is facing prosecution for alleged bribery, criminal mismanagement and forging documents.

In a statement, the OAG said new proceedings have been opened "primarily on the basis of findings obtained by the OAG in this earlier proceeding."

The statement added: "It is suspected that Jerome Valcke accepted undue advantages from a businessman in the sports rights sector in connection with the award of media rights for certain countries at the FIFA World Cups in 2018, 2022, 2026 and 2030 and from Nasser Al-Khelaifi in connection with the award of media rights for certain countries at the FIFA World Cups in 2026 and 2030."

The former TV presenter from France was a FIFA marketing executive – being fired once before in 2006 – before becoming then-president Blatter‘s right-hand man the next year.

He was fired a second time in January 2016 after being implicated in irregular World Cup ticket and broadcast rights sales, plus expense abuses including personal use of private jets.

The FIFA ethics committee banned Valcke for 12 years, with an additional charge of destroying evidence.

The Italian police announced on Friday that they are investigating Paris Saint Germain and beIN media group’s Qatari chief executive, Nasser al-Khelaifi, for corruption after he facilitated the use of a 7 million euros villa in Sardinia to former FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke.

with agencies

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