Paris, France (CNN) – The Paris Public Prosecutor’s Office confirmed to CNN that the president of Paris Saint-Germain, Qatari businessman Nasser Al-Khelaifi, is involved in an investigation into “kidnapping and torture” in France.
This follows allegations that Al-Khelaifi was involved in transferring “potentially compromising” documents from French-Algerian national Tayeb Ben Abdelrahman, who claims he was tortured in Qatari custody in 2020, according to a complaint filed by Tayeb Ben Abdelrahman’s lawyers with the French authorities.
The Paris prosecutor’s office told CNN that, “On January 19, the office opened a preliminary investigation into kidnapping, detention with torture, barbaric acts, extortion, threats, acts of intimidation and collusion with criminals. This followed the receipt of two complaints with a civil suit against Mr. bin Abdul Rahman,” but the Public Prosecution Office did not mention Al-Khulaifi’s name.
The Paris prosecutor’s office confirmed to CNN that 3 investigative judges have been appointed to the case, and this usually indicates an advanced step from the initial investigation.
The complaint filed by Bin Abdulrahman’s lawyer does not specify what the alleged documents are, but claims that “the documents are likely to endanger certain high-ranking persons in Qatar.”
For his part, Al-Khulaifi denied any wrongdoing. His representative directed CNN to a statement previously issued by Al-Khulaifi to the French newspaper L’Equipe in November 2022.
In that statement, Al-Khulaifi said, “You are talking about professional criminals. They changed their lawyers more times than they changed their stories and lies. It is the ultimate manipulation of the media.”
He added, “I am just amazed that so many people have taken their lies and contradictions as credible, but this is the media world we live in today. Justice will be served. I have no time to talk about criminals.”
Meanwhile, Roman Ruiz and Gabriel Wegnar, two lawyers representing Tayeb bin Abdulrahman, told CNN that their client “welcomes the opening of this investigation by the French judicial system and will of course continue to defend his rights as he did in other proceedings that he initiated in order to prove the extremely harmful nature.” For the treatment he was subjected to by the Qatari authorities, as well as by their representatives in France and abroad. They added that their client “would like to confirm that he was never involved in any extortion against Nasser Al-Khulaifi.”
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