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Second official under formal investigation in French corruption investigation

A French judicial investigation into allegations of corruption around Qatar’s bid to host the 2017 and 2019 IAAF World Championships, has led to a second person being put under formal investigation.

AFP and Reuters today reported that Nasser al-Khelaifi, president of Paris Saint-Germain and chairman of media group beIN was ‘mis en examen’, a French legal term meaning ‘under indictment’. This does not automatically lead to trial but indicates prosecutors believe there is some evidence against him.

Yesterday the group’s chief executive Yousef Al-Obaidly, was handed preliminary charges.

The investigation is focusing on two payments of $3.5m (S$4.84m/€3.1m) in 2011 by Oryx Qatar Sports Investment to a sports marketing firm run by Papa Massata Diack, whose father Lamine was formerly president of the IAAF, the world athletics governing body, and a member of the International Olympic Committee.

Doha lost out to London in its bid for the 2017 IAAF World Championships but own the right to stage the 2019 edition, which is due to take place from September 27 to October 6.

Al-Khelaifi has denied any wrongdoing and his lawyer, Francis Szpiner, told the AP that the payments made in 2011 were “perfectly tracked” and added his client was not involved in the money transfer.