PARIS: Nasser Al-Khelkaifi, the Qatari president of French champions Paris Saint-Germain, has been placed under formal investigation in France for alleged corruption related to Doha’s bid to host the athletics world championship in 2017

A $3.5m payment in 2011 by Qatar-based company Oryx QSI to a sports marketing company run by Papa Massata Diack, son of the former IAAF president Lamine Diack, is being investigated by French financial prosecutors.

Al-Khelaifi, according to his lawyer Renaud Semerdjian, refutes allegations that he approved the payment in his role as chairman of the beIN Media Group. He has said he had no connection to Oryx QSI at the time.

Qatar was unsuccessful in its bid to host the championships, which went to London. But Qatar did go on to secure the rights to hold the 2019 world championships to be held in October.

Semerdjian told local media: “The judge has made a mistake. Nasser has no involvement at all. His name does not appear in the entire procedural file.”

Khelaifi, 45, is also chairman of Qatar Sports Investments and the Qatar Tennis Federation and is a minister without portfolio in the Qatari government. He is member of the exevcutive committee of European football federation UEFA as a delegate from European Club Association.

The Qatar bid which is the subject of this investigatuion is one piece on the criminal investigation into Diack, the Senegalese former head of the IAAF. Diack and his marketing adviser son, Papa Massata Diack, face trials on string of corruption charges concerning the misuse of their former roles with the International Association of Athletics Federations.