Saint-Étienne takeover candidate associated with friends of Nasser Al-Khelaifi

An investigation carried out by Jack Adamović Davies for Radio Free Asia has revealed that Cambodian prince Norodom Ravichak, who has made an official bid to take ownership of Saint-Étienne, is associated with two Qatar-based businessmen close to Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

The two business associates, Ahmed and Abdelkader Bessedik, based in Qatar, have been linked to an investigation into potential corruption involving former FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke.

In an interview with RFI yesterday, the prince indicated that his bid was backed by associates, which he declined to reveal for the time being:

“I am bringing in some solid [financial] partners, who I will reveal when the time comes. I am not coming for economic reasons. I want to invest myself over the long term and look after Saint-Étienne.”

Ravichak, along with his brother and the Bessediks, set up the Cambodia Consulting Group 2015, and established another company based in Paris the following year named B&N Conseil et Stratégie. The Bessediks are the only non-Cambodian royal family members who are part owners of Ravichak’s companies, according to business records in France and Cambodia.

Radio Free Asia explain that during the time the aforementioned companies were being set up, the Bessedik brothers were linked to a Swiss investigation into Al-Khelaifi over an alleged bribe of Valcke for BeIN Sports to be awarded the 2026 and 2030 World Cup broadcasting rights.

They were not found guilty by the Swiss court regarding the bribe, which took the form of an exclusive use of a Sardinian villa, but were also found to have engaged in a “corruptive arrangement”. The court indicated that the villa was bought at the request of Valcke through a company in which Al-Khelaifi and Abdelkader Bessedik were shareholders. The latter is said to have played a key role in the purchase, which, according to the court, was orchestrated so that Valcke would “promote and support the candidacy” of BeIN.

Philippe Auclair for Eurosport adds that Ahmed Bessedik is a long-time friend of Al-Khelaifi, and the two men are said to have met at the start of the 90s when the latter was training in France during his tennis career. A third Bessedik brother, Bouabdellah was once in charge of PSG’s media department, and was pictured alongside Al-Khelaifi and Mauricio Pochettino in the aftermath of the club’s Coupe de France win last season. 

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