General Manager of BeIN Sports France Yousef al-Obaidly was interrogated by the French National Financial Prosecution on March 28 over corruption charges related to the bidding process for the 2019 World Athletics Championships to be held in Doha between September 27 and October 6.
Sources disclosed to AFP on Tuesday that the investigation also included Former President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) (1999 – 2015) Lamine Diack, 85, who was interrogated a day ahead.
The former is charged with active corruption while the latter is charged with passive corruption. Charges are based upon two transactions that took place on October 13, 2011 and November 7, 2011 with a total sum of $3.5 million.
The transactions were made by Oryx Qatar Sports Investment (QSI) owned by Nasser al-Khelaïfi and his brother Khaled to a sports marketing company owned by Lamine Diack’s son, Papa Massata Diack (PMD) who face charges of bribery and money laundering.
Nasser al-Khelaifi is the chairman of BeIN Sports Group; chairman of QSI; owner, chairman and CEO of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) Football Club; president of the Qatar Tennis Federation and vice president of the Asian Tennis Federation for West Asia.
Qatar wanted to host the event in 2017. However, London was the winner in the 2011 bid. In 2014, Qatar got the right of organizing the event in 2019. In the same year, Obaidely, 40, who is also a member of PSG’s board of directors, got his current post at BeIN Sports Group.
QSI paid the money to PMD’s company in return for sponsorship and broadcasting rights in accordance with a memorandum of understanding worth $32.6 million signed by both parties. Sources said that the condition behind the deal was that Qatar wins the bid, as reported by Le Point.
The fact that the contract stipulated that such funds are non-refundable raised the judges’ suspicions. PMD, who worked as a marketing consultant for IAAF, was interrogated on April 18. He is now in Senegal while his father is under house arrest in France, according to Reuters.
French “prosecutors began their investigation in 2015, shortly after the IAAF’s ethics commission and the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) uncovered evidence a Russian marathon runner paid 600,000 euros to cover up a positive drug test, allowing her to compete in the London 2012 Olympic Games,” Reuters reported.