National Financial Prosecutor’s Office opens preliminary investigation into embezzlement complaint

According to L’Équipe, a preliminary investigation has been opened by the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) into the 2022 creation of a commercial company by the LFP, and the subsequent deal made with CVC Capital Partners. 

In 2022, the league announced that they had created LFP Media. This affiliate commercial company would oversee selling the rights associated with Ligue 1 and 2, such as the broadcasting and advertising rights for the league. 

Alongside this announcement, LFP also detailed significant investment from CVC Capital Partners for €1.5 billion, for a 13.04% lifetime share in all future French football revenue. A deal that was only viable after a legislative change allowed a sports league to transfer part of its rights (up to 20%) to a private entity. 

On the 20th of November, the anti-corruption association (AC!!) filed a complaint to the PNF over suspicions of the embezzlement of public funds. This complaint has been under consideration, and for several weeks the PNF has stated only that the matter was being studied. However, according to L’Équipe’s sources, a preliminary investigation into the misappropriation of public funds has now begun and has been entrusted to two prosecutors. 

L’Équipe further states the PNF has not contacted any investigative services, and that the organisation needs to install this procedural framework to perform requisitions and fully analyse the complaint. The opening of a preliminary investigation does not indicate what the outcome of the investigation will be. 

This has had a knock-on effect on the Senate’s ongoing investigation into the creation of LFP Media and the CVC deal, as Parliament does not have the right to investigate the same area the judicial authorities are exploring. Instead, it is thought that the Senate will take a broader purview. 

GFFN | Nick Hartland

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