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Egypt refers CEO of Qatari TV network to court

BeIN Media Group is charged with monopolistic practices

Gulf News

Cairo: An Egyptian court is due to start in January the trial of chief executive officer of the Qatari beIN Media Group, Nasser Al Khelaifi, on charges of the network’s alleged involvement in monopolistic practices and violating Egypt’s competition protection law, judicial sources said on Thursday.

Investigations by Egyptian prosecutors found that beIN Sports, a Qatari television network having the exclusive broadcasting rights of several African and European football championships, forced subscribers in Egypt to switch their receiver devices from the Egyptian satellite NileSat to the Qatari Sohail satellite, the sources added.

The trial, due to open on January 22, was ordered by Egypt’s chief prosecutor Nabil Sadeq.

Egypt’s state-run Anti-Monopoly Agency, that filed a legal complaint against Al Khelaifi, said that the forced switch threatens to harm the state-owned NileSat and rob it of customers.

The case against Al Khelaifi will be handled by an Egyptian economic court.

It is unlikely that Al Khelaifi, 43, will show up for the trial. He faces fines ranging from 200,000 Egyptian pounds (Dh41,600) up to 600 million Egyptian pounds if convicted, according to the sources.

The case comes against a backdrop of escalating tensions between Egypt and Qatar.

In June, Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain severed diplomatic ties and transportation links with Qatar over its support for terrorist groups.

Last week, Swiss prosecutors announced criminal proceedings against Al Khelaifi, who is also the chairman Paris Saint-Germain, for suspected bribery in connection to the award of World Cup broadcast rights.