Qatar's Nasser al-Khelaifi, president of Paris Saint-Germain and chairman of media group beIN, is under formal investigation for alleged corruption, a French judicial source said.
A second source said Khelaifi and a close associate were questioned by investigators in March in relation to the bidding process for the 2017 athletics world championships. Qatar was unsuccessful in its bid and the event was awarded to London.
The judge's decision means Khelaifi is now formally treated as a suspect and takes the legal process one step closer to trial. Under French law, however, a suspect is not formally charged with a crime unless he is sent to trial.
The Qatari supremo is suspected of attempting to purchase the event by investigative magistrate Renaud Van Ruymbeke, who alleges that Al-Khelaifi paid former International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Lamine Diack €3.1 million.
Diack is also under investigation and although London was ultimately awarded the championships, Qatar will host this year's event at Khalifa International Stadium.
On Wednesday the chief executive officer of beIN, Yousef Al-Obaidly, was handed preliminary charges of corruption as part of an investigation into the bidding process for the championships.
A close ally of Al-Khelaifi, Al-Obaidly is also a board member of the French club.
Speaking with Le Parisien, Al-Khelaifi's lawyer Francis Szpiner distanced his client from the claims.
"Nasser Al-Khelaifi's name does not appear on any document in this file," he said. "These incriminations are not based on any tangible evidence."
Al-Khelaifi is no stranger to controversy, having also seen a World Cup bribery case opened against him back in 2017.
Al-Khelaifi also sits of European football's governing body UEFA's executive committee after he was selected as a club delegate in February.
PSG, who won this year's top-flight league in France, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
ESPN's PSG correspondent Jonathan Johnson contributed to this report.