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PSG president al-Khelaifi acquitted in FIFA retrial

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser al-Khelaifi was acquitted in Switzerland on Friday for a second time in a retrial of alleged wrongdoing linked to former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke.

Al-Khelaifi was cleared again of a charge of incitement to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement for allowing Valcke to use a vacation home in Sardinia rent free. The home was bought in 2013 by a Qatari company.

Valcke, who was FIFA’s top administrator for eight years until being removed in 2015, was convicted on separate charges not involving Al-Khelaifi. They relate to taking kickbacks in negotiations for World Cup broadcast rights in Italy and Greece.

The Swiss federal criminal court found Valcke guilty of repeated forgery and passive corruption. He was given a longer suspended sentence 11 months instead of three than he received after the original trial in September 2020.

A third defendant, Greek marketing executive Dinos Deris, was convicted of active corruption and given a 10-month suspended sentence after first being acquitted in 2020. Both men’s sentences were suspended for probationary periods of two years.

The retrial was held in March at the Swiss federal criminal court after prosecutors appealed against the original verdicts.

Al-Khelaifi’s second acquittal was hailed by his legal team as “total vindication.”

“The years of baseless allegations, fictitious charges and constant smears have been proven to be completely and wholly unsubstantiated twice,” lawyer Marc Bonnant said in a statement.

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