A lawyer for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) president, Nasser Al-Khelaifi has denied any alleged corruption by him after he was placed under formal investigation in France in relation to Qatar’s attempt to host the 2017 World Athletics Championships.
Al-Khelaifi’s representatives say the case is focused on alleged payments made by one of his firms to a company run by the son of former IAAF President Lamine Diack, during the bidding process for the 2017 World Athletics Championships.
A French judge has charged Al-Khelaifi with alleged corruption and he is under formal investigation following claims of wrongdoing. Al-Khelaifi’s lawyers say the allegations are “inaccurate” and that he did not validate any payments.
A statement from his lawyers said: “The magistrate seems to consider that this payment would have made it possible to obtain a letter of agreement from Lamine Diack for the postponement of dates for the organisation of the 2017 World Athletics Championships and the 2020 Olympic Games with a view to their respective allocation to the city of Doha.
“Nasser Al-Khelaifi is charged with having ‘validated this payment’, to the ‘ultimate beneficiary’ of Lamine Diack. Both these statements are also inaccurate.
“Nasser Al-Khelaifi was neither a shareholder nor a director of Oryx in 2011. He was not directly or indirectly involved in Doha’s bid to host the 2017 World Athletics Championships.”
The judge’s decision means Khelaifi is now formally treated as a suspect and takes the legal process one step closer to trial. Under French law, however, a suspect is not formally charged with a crime unless he is sent to trial.
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London won the bidding to host the championships in 2017, but Qatar is hosting the 2019 championships in September-October.