5 June 2015
Since our post on 3 June 2015 entitled – Switzerland: FIFA – Blatter steps down in a surprise move, further evidence has emerged.
US Department of Justice’s indictment alleged that the $10 million payment made by the South African Football Association ended up in the personal account of Jack Warner, Chuck Blazer and another official. Blazer, former Fifa official turned FBI informant said that he had received a portion of the $10 million bribe.
In a secret court session in November 2013, Blazer told US Judge: “I and others on the Fifa executive committee agreed to accept bribes in conjunction with the selection of South Africa as the host nation for the 2010 World Cup.”
The indictment states that: “A high-ranking Fifa official caused payments … totaling $10m – to be wired from a Fifa account in Switzerland to a Bank of America correspondent account in New York … controlled by Jack Warner.”
The reports from the US indicate that Sepp Blatter is also the subject of a criminal inquiry. But so far has not yet been charged with any offence.
Reports from US further show that FBI is widening its scope of investigations to include the organization of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil last summer.
Why is America involved in the prosecution of Fifa bribes? US has the right to indict anyone who is believed to have committed a crime involving US dollars, the US banking system, or who has planned an illegal act while on American territory. Blazer was based in New York; the accused officials allegedly discussed or engaged in corruption while in the US and several of the more than 30 banks and branches that handled tainted transactions are based in the US.
It became necessary for South Africa to get the support of Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Football (Concacaf) to win the bid for World Cup Tournament. To this end South Africa agreed to pay $10 million to Concacaf for the development of football there. But the money went into the pockets of Jack Warner, Chuck Blazer and another unnamed official.
Major sponsors – like Visa, Coca-Cola, Adidas, McDonald’s, Hyundai and Budweiser – are now reconsidering their position.
Football Association of Ireland [FAI] chief executive John Delaney said that Fifa paid FAI €5m “hush money” to stop legal action over Henry’s handball in Ireland’s defeat by France in their 2009 World Cup.
The Irish Independent reported on Thursday that Sepp Blatter served as a board member for a fictitious company founded in Ireland in 2001 in order to profit from its tax benefits and to launder millions of euros to the headquarters in Switzerland. The company went under voluntary liquidation in 2008. In a statement sent to Irish Independent, FIFA stated that the company was set up to facilitate the signing of licence agreements with its Japanese commercial affiliates, “in particular with respect to the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan”.