PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi under investigation for 'alleged kidnap and torture' in Qatar - strongly denies any involvement
Three French judges have been appointed to launch an investigation into the PSG chief over the 'alleged kidnapping and torture' of Franco-Algerian lobbyist Tayeb Benabderrahmane, reports French outlet L'Equipe.
Benabderrahmane, 42, has claimed he was subjected to 'kidnapping, confinement and torture' carried out over a six month period, allegedly in connection with being in possession of sensitive documents.
As first reported by Liberation in September last year, Benabderrahmane is said to have been detained in Qatar from January 2020, some three months after settling in the country to carry out the lobbying.
It is then alleged that the 42-year-old was imprisoned and tortured, before being placed under house arrest. He claims to have been allowed to leave in November only after signing a confidentiality agreement, which stipulated the non-disclosure of the 'sensitive' nature of the documents in his possession.
It is reported that these documents pertained to the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, as well as the television rights for the 2026 and 2030 editions of the tournament to BeIN Media.
The Qatar-based broadcasting corporation is headed by Al-Khelaifi, who was accused of making a pact with former FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke before being acquitted in October 2020.
"We are very happy that the real file of this story is finally investigated by the French justice," Mr. Benabderrahmane's lawyers, Maitres Romain Ruiz and Gabriel Vejnar, told AFP.
As reported by L'Equipe back in 2022, Mr Benaderrahamne was previously represented by both Olivier Pardo and Juan Branco. The same outlet also claim that Pardo refused to sign off on a deal to take the lobbyist's case to the Qatar Human Rights Committee after Mr Benaderrahamne revealed that he was still in possession of the documents, which he apparently intended to use to extract money from Al-Khelaifi.
When asked to comment on this report, Pardo refused for client confidentiality reasons. The lawyer also reportedly asked to be paid €150,000 for his services to Mr Benaderrahamne - only for the Paris Bar to set the fees at €43,000.
Last year, Al-Khelaifi responded to the allegations with the following statement: “You are talking about professional criminals. They’ve changed their lawyers more times than they’ve changed their stories and their lies.
"It is the ultimate media manipulation. 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."
It is the second scandal to hit the Parisian club in a matter of days, with full-back Achraf Hakimi accused of alleged 'sexual assault' on Monday.