FIFA concludes internal investigation into allegations of fraud and corruption

After 22 months of investigating itself, FIFA has announced the process is complete.

It had hired a law firm based in Los Angeles, Quinn Emanuel, to conduct the investigation into allegations of fraud and corruption stemming from raids of offices and arrests of top officials starting in May of 2015.

The fruits of the investigation: more than 1,300 pages of documents and 20,000 pieces of evidence FIFA turned over to the Swiss and U.S. authorities conducting investigations and criminal proceedings in several countries. The world governing body did not release specifics of the material, stating it is “legally restricted from releasing or commenting on the findings from its internal investigation.”

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating cases of bribery and kickbacks on TV rights sales and tax fraud by executives of Conmebol and Concacaf that went public on May 27, 2015, when seven officials were arrested at luxury hotel in Zurich a few days before the re-election of Sepp Blatter as FIFA president.

It is believed much of the investigation is based on information provided by Chuck Blazer, former general secretary of Concacaf, who has been working with authorities as an informant for the FBI. Blazer disappeared from public view after resigning from Concacaf in 2011 and according to a U.S. Department of Justice statement released in the wake of the Zurich arrests pled guilty to charges of racketeering conspiracy, wire-fraud conspiracy, money-laundering conspiracy, income-tax evasion, and failure to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR).

Former Concacaf president Jack Warner, a business and personal confidant of Blazer for many years, is one of 27 defendants indicted for multiple incidents of corruption and is in his home nation of Trinidad fighting extradition. He resigned from his Concacaf and FIFA posts in 2011.

A payment by FIFA to Warner of $10 million out of the 2010 World Cup organizing budget has been labeled by Blazer as a bribe to Warner for his vote and that of another FIFA executive committee member for South Africa as host of the 2010 competition. Warner has not admitted to any criminal activities.

Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber is leading an investigation of allegations of bribery and and vote-trading in the bidding and awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, respectively, as well as cases relating to the 2006 and 2010 competitions.

Blatter, who was banned from soccer activities by the FIFA ethics committee in December, 2015, has denied allegations of bribery and corrupt practices. He is being investigated for a payment made to former UEFA president Michael Platini in 2011 as well as specifics of a sweetheart deal for 2006 World Cup broadcast rights with the Caribbean Football Union during Warner’s reign as CFU president.

In December, 2006, FIFA cleared Warner of responsibility in a scheme whereby his son, Daryan Warner, turned a profit of $933,000 by re-selling 2006 World Cup tickets allotted to Simpaul Travel, a company run by Daryan Warner and chosen by FIFA as an official outlet for tickets and travel packages.

Since winning the FIFA presidential election in February of last year Gianni Infantino has reiterated Blatter’s assertion that FIFA officials were victims, not perpetrators, in widespread practices of bribery and corruption. Infantino is spearheading expansion of the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams while trying to distance himself and other officials of past transgressions that date back nearly two decades.

“FIFA is committed to conducting a thorough and comprehensive investigation of the facts so we could hold wrongdoers within football accountable and cooperate with the authorities,” Infantino said in a statement to the media. “We have now completed that investigation and handed the evidence over to the authorities, who will continue to pursue those who enriched themselves and abused their positions of trust in football. Fifa will now return its focus to the game, for fans and players throughout the world.”
1 comment about "FIFA concludes internal investigation into allegations of fraud and corruption".
  1. beautiful game, April 1, 2017 at 2:30 p.m.

    FIFA has been in a global bubble far too long, and its internal investigation needs to go public.

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