French authorities are investigating accusations about incidents that allegedly occurred in Qatar in 2020.
Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the president of French champions Paris Saint-Germain and chairman of Qatar Sports Investments, is being investigated by judiciary in Paris amid allegations of kidnap and torture, according to several reports circulating in French media.
It was claimed in a civil action by Franco-Algerian lobbyist Tayeb Benabderrahmane that he had been abducted and tortured in Qatar in 2020 due to him being in possession of allegedly compromising information about the influential Qatari businessman.
French law dictates that the filing of a civil complaint allows for a judicial investigation to be introduced in connection to any alleged crimes. Legal counsel for Benabderrahmane said that they were “very satisfied” with the legal development, after previously criticizing the French legal system for failing to act on their allegations.
“We are very happy that the real file of this story is finally the subject of an investigation by French justice,” Benabderrahmane’s legal team said.
In a statement, Al-Khelaifi strenuously denied the allegations. “You’re talking about professional criminals. They’ve changed their lawyers more times than they’ve changed their stories and lies.
“It is the ultimate media manipulation,” he added. “I’m just amazed so many people have taken their lies and contradictions as credible – but that’s the media world we’re in today. Justice will run its course – I don’t have time to talk about petty professional criminals.”
Benabderrahmane claims that he was held for six months in Qatar after being arrested in January 2020, during which time he says that he was tortured while being confined to house arrest.
He alleges that he was only granted permission to leave when he signed a document which stated that he would not reveal “sensitive” information about Al-Khelaifi.
Media reports indicate that the information allegedly possessed by Benabderrahmane may link Al-Khelaifi to wrongdoing related to the awarding of the 2022 FIFA World Cup to Qatar, or to television rights deals for the 2026 and 2030 World Cups. Al-Khelaifi was a member of the organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup. He is also the chairman of beIN Media Group.
He has been investigated – and cleared – in probes into these matters and into his relationship with former FIFA Secretary General Jerome Vackle.
Paris Saint-Germain have thrived under Al-Khelaifi since he became the president and chief executive of the club in 2011, following its acquisition by Qatar Sports Investments, a subsidiary of the state-run Qatar Investment Authority sovereign-wealth fund in Qatar.