25 May 2019.
The president of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), a French professional football club, has been charged by Parisian prosecutors with corruption. PSG was bought over by Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), the country’s sovereign wealth fund, in 2011. PSG, is based in Paris. It was founded in 1970. The club plays in Ligue 1, the highest tier of French football. PSG have won a total of 37 major trophies and is considered the most successful French club in history.
Nasser Al-Khelaifi became chief executive of PSG in 2011. He is Chairman of beIN media, a television network that holds regional rights to many of the world’s top sporting events, including World Cup soccer. He is also a minister without portfolio in the Qatari government.
Al-Khelaifi was charged on 16 May 2019 over a $3.5 million payment made in 2011 by Oryx to Pamodzi Sport Consulting. Oryx Qatar Sports Investments is an investment fund linked to QSI. The payment was to get the 2017 World Championship of Athletics in Doha. Qatar was unsuccessful in its bid to host the championships, which went to London. But Qatar did secure the rights to hold the 2019 world championships to be held in October. Pamodzi is linked to Papa Massata Diack.
Lamine Diack (in the picture) is a Senegalese businessman, sports administrator, and former athlete. He was president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) from 1999 to 2015. He was also a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). He is the subject of numerous investigations into corruption during his tenure as president. He was the chairman of the National Water Company “Société Nationale des Eaux” of Senegal (SONES) from 1995 to 2001. Papa Massata Diack, his son, is the manager of Pamodzi. On 3 March 2017, Le Monde claimed Lamine Diack’s son received US$ 1.5 million from a Brazilian businessman, Arthur Soares three days before the election of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as organizer of 2016 summer Olympics. Lamine Diack is under house arrest in France. Papa Diack is in Dakar as the Senegalese Government refuses to extradite him to France to face the charges.
Papa Diack is also accused of trying to influence the final vote for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in favour of Tokyo rather than Madrid. A $1.5 million payment was made from the Tokyo 2020 bid team to a Singapore-based Black Tidings bank account linked to Papa Diack and was made during Japan’s successful campaign. He has also been linked with a scheme to help PyeongChang win its bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.
It was alleged that Diack had received bribes from the now bankrupt sports marketing company International Sport and Leisure. Diack had personally received the cash payments from ISL at a time when the company was in negotiations with the IAAF to sign a marketing contract.
It is surprising to note that IOC and IAAF are oblivious to all the corruption going on under their nose.
Authorities in France had issued an arrest warrant for Valentin Balakhnichev, former President of the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) and treasurer of the IAAF, and Alexei Melnikov. ex-senior coach of Russia’s team.