French businessman to buy notorious Beitar Jerusalem FC amid sex abuse scandal
The notorious Israeli Beitar Jerusalem football club is to be sold to a French businessman, while its current owner continues to be plagued by charges of sexual abuse and fraud.
It was announced on Thursday that French businessman Stefan Malul would purchase the club, and will initially transfer $1 million and assume all the club’s liabilities, according to The Times of Israel.
The final price tag for the Israeli football club has not been revealed.
“I want to make Beitar Jerusalem one of the five biggest teams in Europe,” Malul said in an interview.
In February 2021, it was announced that a 50 percent stake in the club would be sold to Emirati royal Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Nahyan, following on from the Abraham Accords signed between Israel and the UAE in September 2020.
However, the deal fell apart when an investigation by Israel's football association, discovered a “significant gap” between what Al-Nahyan claims to have and his actual financial assets.
Beitar Jerusalem’s current owner, Moshe Hogeg, is under house, accused of committing a series of sex crimes, including underage prostitution, sex trafficking, sexual harassment and fraud, according to The Times of Israel.
Hogeg has denied all the accusations and accused Israeli police of mistreating him while he was in custody.
During his time as owner, Hogeg was frustrated by the racist and anti-Arab views of the club’s fans, describing them as “ungrateful”, and citing them as a reason for his decision to sell a stake in the club to Al-Nahyan.
Unlike all other major Israeli football clubs, Beitar Jerusalem has never had an Arab player on their lineup.