Lobbyist accused by his former lawyer of attempting to blackmail Nasser Al-Khelaifi

L’Équipe report this afternoon that French-Algerian entrepreneur Tayeb Benabderrahmane has been accused by his former lawyer, Olivier Pardo, of attempting to blackmail Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi for “several tens of millions of euros”.

The businessman and lobbyist’s name was first mentioned in a Libération investigation which alleged that he had been arrested and held in prison in Qatar for most of 2020 for being in possession of digital files which were compromising for Al-Khelaifi. Benabderrahmane is said to be claiming that Pardo did not carry out the necessary legal procedures and instead sought to strike a deal with Al-Khelaifi’s lawyers.

A document seen by L’Équipe, consisting of the Paris Bar’s decision after the businessman’s complaint about his lawyer, would indicate that the latter did in fact carry out due diligence and confirms that the former was indeed held in a Qatari prison.

Pardo appears to have indicated that his client was held on ground of “breaches to the safety of Qatar” and that he had stolen recordings pertaining to Al-Khelaifi’s private life, which he sought to use for blackmail. Benabderrahmane has consistently denied this accusation.

L’Équipe claim that according to the document, Mr. Pardo told his colleagues that negotiations for his client’s release were carried out in Paris with the firm managed by Al-Khelaifi’s two lawyers, Francis Szpiner and Renaud Semerdjian, with the main condition being that he hand over the USB drive containing the files “containing recordings of a sexual nature stolen from Mr. Al Khelaifi”.

The investigation goes on to explain that the lobbyist and his current lawyer Nabil Boudi believe that the PSG president used his influence in Qatar to bury the story. He adds that despite the €120,000 he paid his lawyer, the former made no attempt to alert the French diplomatic authorities and instead sought to secure a deal behind his back with the lawyers of Al Khelaifi. Pardo has denied this version of events to the governing board, and explained that his client was aware of said meetings.

Pardo then allegedly added that after his client’s release in late 2020 he had been instructed to draw up a legal complaint for tortute and inhumane treatment, with a view to taking his case to the Qatar Human Rights Committee. However, Pardo is said to have claimed that he then refused to sign off on the deal when his client told him he still had a copy of the documents pertaining to Al-Khelaifi and intended to extract money in return for his silence.

L’Équipe contacted Pardo, who declined to comment on the grounds of professional confidentiality, while Boudi did likewise, explaining that the case was now in the hands of the law. Pardo has also claimed that he has not received the full fee he was due for his time working on the case and has asked to be paid €150,000 – the Paris Bar has rejected this sum and set the fees due to him at €44,000.

Another one of Benabderrahmane’s lawyers, Juan Branco, also reacted to the accusations of blackmail levelled at his client earlier in the month:  “we’re used to these kinds of overly clumsy backfire attempts. There’s going to be an extraordinary offensive in order to destroy our client, after trying to make him disappear.”  Branco also indicated that a legal complaint over extortion would be filed. According to L’Équipe, as of the time the article was published no preliminary investigation has been opened by the Paris prosecutor.

According to the original Libération article,  a source close to Al-Khelaifi cast aside the accusations and links to the PSG president, and indicated that Tayeb was a “blackmailer who wanted millions and burnt himself.”

GFFN

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