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Report Says FIFA Official Took Bribes

It seems like scandal revelation is becoming a daily occurrence at FIFA-affiliated soccer organizations across the globe. The biggest scandal of the day involves South American Confederation (Conmebol) President Nicolas Leoz, who has been accused of bribery in connection with the collapse of ISMM in 2001, FIFA's former marketing partner. The collapse of the independent marketing agency, which handled FIFA's television distribution rights for the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, left a major hole in FIFA's finances. A legal document obtained by the Guardian highlights payments made to a Liechtenstein bank account between 1999 and 2001 in the name of Sunbow SA, an entity founded in 1997 in the British Virgin Islands. The document shows that Sunbow was 100 percent held by the Nunca foundation, which it says, "can be characterized as a financial/commercial unit of ISMM AG." Some $12 million was allocated as "payments for the acquisition of rights," but the legal document alleges that that sum was used as a bribe for third parties involved in ISMM. Apparently, Swiss investigators have former ISMM executives willing to testify that the payments made to President Leoz were in fact bribes. Among the charges that could be brought against Leoz: fraud, fraudulent bankruptcy, and damage to creditors' interests by reduction of assets. The investigation is now being handed over to local authorities. Chirstoph Malms, one of several former ISMM executives under investigation, said the payment of "inducements to reputable personalities in sport" was a common, widespread practice by agencies such as ISMM and ISL.

Read the whole story at The Guardian »

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