President of PSG Nasser Al-Khelaifi, 12 Feb 19Image copyright
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A French judge has charged the president of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) football club, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, with corruption over Qatari bids to host the world athletics championships.

Judicial sources quoted by AFP news agency said the case focused on the championships held in 2017 and 2019.

Mr Khelaifi, who is also the boss of Qatari TV channel BeIn Sports, has been under investigation since March.

Two payments totalling $3.5m (£2.8m), made in 2011, are under scrutiny.

London won the bidding to host the championships in 2017, but Qatar is hosting this year’s championships in September-October.

It is alleged that the payments were made by Oryx Qatar Sports Investment – a firm jointly owned by Nasser Al-Khelaifi and his brother Khalid – to a firm run by the son of Lamine Diack, ex-president of the IAAF, the world athletics governing body.

Lamine Diack, 85, was charged with corruption in March in relation to the case, while an arrest warrant has been issued for his Senegal-based son, Papa Massata Diack. Lamine Diack was IAAF chief in 1999-2015.

Read more on athletics inquiries:

Allegations denied

The French term “mis en examen” – meaning “charged” in English – does not automatically trigger a trial, but means that prosecutors strongly suspect wrongdoing.

Another BeIn Sports executive, Yousef Al-Obaidly, is also under investigation in France over the awarding of the 2017 championships. He is a PSG board member.

Mr Obaidly, quoted by his lawyer, called the allegations “utterly baseless and unsubstantiated” and said he would contest them.

In January, Mr Al-Khelaifi was elected to the executive committee of European football’s governing body Uefa.

A lawyer for Mr Khelaifi denied any wrongdoing on the part of his client, saying the Oryx payments were fully transparent.

“Nasser Al-Khelaifi was neither a shareholder, nor a director of Oryx in 2011. He did not intervene either directly or indirectly in the candidature of Doha,” he said.

PSG won the French Ligue 1 championship this season, but were knocked out of the Champions League by Manchester United.



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