Jerome Valcke

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Swiss supreme court dismisses Valcke’s FIFA ban appeal

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GENEVA (AP) — The Swiss supreme court has rejected an appeal by former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke against a 10-year ban from soccer for financial wrongdoing.

The decision was published Friday , showing the 58-year-old Valcke had argued that his punishment was excessive, and that he was denied a fair trial at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Valcke was ordered to pay 18,000 Swiss francs ($17,900) in federal court costs and 20,000 Swiss francs ($19,900) to FIFA.

FIFA said in a statement it “welcomes the Swiss Federal Tribunal judgment” on its former marketing director and top administrator.

Valcke remains the subject of two ongoing criminal proceedings opened by Swiss federal prosecutors. A separate FIFA ethics investigation was opened in September 2016 into salaries and bonuses paid to top officials.

The right-hand man to former FIFA president Sepp Blatter from 2007 until September 2015 had challenged a CAS ruling to uphold his FIFA ban and a fine of 100,000 Swiss francs ($99,500).

The FIFA ethics committee charged him in relation to irregular World Cup ticket sales, expense abuses including personal use of private jets, and trying to destroy evidence. Valcke, who denies all wrongdoing, told CAS he followed advice from Blatter by taking a private flight to the 2018 World Cup qualifying draw in Russia to avoid the risk of arrest.

The evidence emerged in fallout from sweeping investigations by American and Swiss federal prosecutors, which were revealed in May 2015. Those cases removed a generation of soccer leaders from FIFA, and from continental soccer bodies in Europe and the Americas.

The Swiss proceedings are ongoing, and include an allegation that Valcke was bribed by Qatari television executive Nasser al-Khelaifi with the use of a luxury villa in Italy in a World Cup broadcast rights deal. Al-Khelaifi, the president of French champion Paris Saint-Germain, was also implicated in the case in 2017 and denies wrongdoing. He has since been appointed to the UEFA executive committee.

Swiss investigators open World Cup bribery case against Al-Khelaifi, Valcke

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Swiss prosecutors have opened an investigation against Paris Saint-Germain president and BeIN Media Group CEO Nasser Al-Khelafi on suspected bribery charges with regards to World Cup media rights, the office of Switzerland’s attorney general announced on Thursday.

The announcement claimed the investigation reaches into France, Greece, Italy and Spain, and that authorities have already searched properties to find key evidence.

Also named in the investigation are FIFA itself, and former FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke who was fired and banned from FIFA alongside Sepp Blatter in January of 2016. The announcement read:

“It is suspected that Jerome Valcke accepted undue advantages from a businessman in the sports rights sector in connection with the award of media rights for certain countries at the Fifa World Cups in 2018, 2022, 2026 and 2030 and from Nasser al-Khelaifi in connection with the award of media rights for certain countries at the Fifa World Cups in 2026 and 2030,”

Valcke has been publicly under investigation by Swiss authorities since March of last year, when they announced he was suspected of criminal mismanagement.

BeIN Media Group and BeIN Sports confirmed their French office was searched by the Swiss authorities, and that they cooperated with all requests. They were quick, however, to issue a sweeping denial of all allegations, saying, “BeIN Media Group refutes all allegations made by OAG [Attorney General of Switzerland]. The company will fully cooperate with the authorities and is confident as to the future developments of this investigation.”

FIFA released a short statement saying, in part, “FIFA has constituted itself as a damaged party in this investigation.”

Valcke did not respond to requests for a statement, and Paris Saint-Germain declined to comment, according to the Associated Press.

Surprise! Sepp Blatter might have illegally taken money from FIFA

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Perhaps Probably Look, I know the above headline definitely didn’t take you by surprise — at all.

[ MORE: The FIFA fiasco never, ever, ever ends ]

It’s a pretty widely belief — since, roughly, about the middle of the aughts — that Sepp Blatter, among others, partook in some pretty shady dealings over nearly two full decades as the head of world football’s governing body.

The important thing, now, is that FIFA — or, the new folks in charge of FIFA — also believe this to be true — or, at the very minimum, appear interested in taking a crack at proving it to be true in order to take the spotlight off themselves. The new FIFA! Same as the old FIFA…

Blatter’s day in (an American federal) court is presumably still coming — we’re counting on you, Loretta Lynch — so this’ll have to do, for now.

FIFA headquarters raided in reference to Blatter, Valcke investigations

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If anyone thought the FIFA corruption and bribery investigations were nearing an end, think again.

According to the Associated Press, Swiss authorities have re-entered FIFA headquarters in Zurich in search of evidence involving ongoing cases for former president Sepp Blatter and Jerome Valcke.

Led by Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber, Blatter, Valcke and former FIFA financial officer Markus Kattner are being heavily pursued for reportedly awarding themselves in excess of $80 million in bonuses over a five-year period.

“Documents and electronic data were seized and will now be examined to determine their relevance to the ongoing proceedings,” the federal prosecution office said Friday, one day after the latest search at FIFA headquarters in Zurich.

Both Blatter and Valcke have been under investigation for months, while Blatter has been banned from all FIFA activities for six years and Valcke for 12 years.

Kattner was fired last week by FIFA after irregular payments were discovered amounting to millions of dollars.

The news comes just weeks after new president Gianni Infantino declared that “the crisis is over” in regards to the entire FIFA corruption scandal.

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Jerome Valcke dismissed as FIFA secretary general

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LONDON (AP) FIFA has fired Jerome Valcke for the second time, cutting ties with the secretary general four months after he was suspended while under investigation for wrongdoing at the scandal-scarred governing body.

FIFA announced Wednesday that its emergency committee, consisting of the heads of the regional confederations, decided to dismiss Sepp Blatter’s top aide over the weekend.

Valcke, whose main duty at FIFA was overseeing organization of the World Cup, rose to the top administrative job in 2007 after being re-hired despite being fired the previous year over his role in a sponsorship controversy.

[ MORE: FIFA to appeal for stiffer Blatter, Platini penalties ]

Coming less than a month after Blatter was banned for eight years by FIFA, Valcke’s second dismissal completes the downfall of the two men who had traveled the globe on private jets and were entertained by national leaders as they ran international soccer.

The Frenchman was banished from FIFA in September when he was put on leave within hours of a FIFA ticketing partner alleging that the former television presenter and marketing executive sought to profit from a 2014 World Cup black market ticket deal that later fell through.

Since then, the FIFA ethics case into Valcke has hardened. FIFA prosecutors last week recommended a nine-year ban after charging him with accepting gifts, conflicts of interest, breaches of confidentiality and loyalty, and failing to cooperate with investigators.

FIFA ethics judges are expected to hear the case within weeks but Valcke will not be returning to the governing body he ran on a day-to-day basis.

“The employment relationship between FIFA and Jerome Valcke has … been terminated,” FIFA said in Wednesday’s statement.

[ MORE: Liverpool adds QPR’s Caulker | Shelvey at Newcastle ]

Markus Kattner will continue to serve as acting secretary general, while refusing to publicly discuss his role of finance director and why FIFA authorized a 2 million Swiss franc ($2 million) payment to Michel Platini, which led to the UEFA president being banned from soccer for eight years along with Blatter.

As marketing director at the start of the last decade, Valcke was implicated in misleading World Cup sponsor MasterCard during contract renewal talks. FIFA and Blatter eventually signed with Visa, provoking a legal suit from MasterCard which was settled for $90 million.

Valcke’s conduct and business ethics were severely criticized by the federal judge in New York who heard the case.