Mon, 20 Jan 2020

Paris - French prosecutors said Monday that they had handed to an investigating judge their inquiry into suspected corruption in the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

The country's financial crimes prosecutors office (PNF) began its inquiry in 2016 over allegations of corruption, conspiracy and influence peddling in the voting that awarded Qatar the coveted football tournament.

The decision to hand their findings to a Paris judge comes six months after the former UEFA chief Michel Platini was questioned by French anti-corruption police.

Platini, who was banned from football for four years in 2015 for ethics violations, was questioned over his vote in favour of Qatar in December 2010, a choice that caught many observers by surprise.

He has denied any wrongdoing and was released without being charged.

According to Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president at the time, Qatar won hosting rights as a result of a deal with France and the intervention of ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy.

French investigators have focused in particular on a November 23, 2010, meeting at the presidential Elysee Palace between Platini, Sarkozy and Qatar's Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, who in 2013 became leader of the oil-rich emirate.

Sarkozy's former chief of staff Claude Gueant as well as his former sports adviser, Sophie Dion, were also questioned by police earlier this year.

The 2010 vote has been mired in controversy because half of the FIFA committee members who cast votes have since been suspended, banned for life, fined or prosecuted for corruption.

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