BELLINZONA: Lawyers for former FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke have rebuffed prosecution demands that he be jailed for his role in the World Cup television rights bribery case.
The Frenchman has denied all wrongdoing as has Qatari business Nasser Al-Khelaifi – the Paris Saint-Germain president – who is also on trial on associated charges.
On Tuesday prosecutor Joel Pahud demanded a three-year jail term, with some time suspended, for Valcke who had been the world federation’s No2 for eight years before being sacked and suspended in late 2015.
The case turned on the allocation to Valcke of a luxury villa in Sardinia by a company linked to Al-Khelaifi at a time when the latter’s beIN Media was negotiating a lucrative World Cup TV rights contract. Valcke was having financial difficulties at the time.
One of Valcke’s lawyers Pascal Hunziker, refuted the prosecution’s character attack.
Hunziker said: “Mr Valcke is not a bad guy. He didn’t steal FIFA but he wanted to leave her because – he told me – he was having trouble with the elected [members]. He was a French sports journalist who found himself propelled to Zurich and a world of money which was totally foreign to him.
“He was outrageously spendthrift, that’s true, but he was looking out for his family and young children.”