Football: Valcke not connected with transfer of US$10m to another official, says Fifa

A photo taken on July 5, 2012 shows FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke during a press conference after a meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in Zurich. -- PHOTO: AFP 
A photo taken on July 5, 2012 shows FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke during a press conference after a meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in Zurich. -- PHOTO: AFP 

ZURICH (Reuters) - Fifa denied on Tuesday that the top lieutenant of its president, Sepp Blatter, or any other member of its senior management made US$10 million (S$13.5 million) in bank transactions that are central to a bribery investigation against the world soccer body.

Secretary general Jerome Valcke had no role in the payments, which were authorised by the chairman of Fifa's finance committee, it said in a statement.

The chairman of the committee then was Argentina's Julio Grondona, who died last year.

"Neither the Secretary General Jerome Valcke nor any other member of Fifa's senior management were involved in the initiation, approval and implementation of the above project," Fifa said.

As new questions arose in the Fifa scandal, more officials were arrested, suspended or banned on Monday, and countries were weighing a World Cup boycott amid controversy over the re-election of Blatter on Friday.

A source close to the investigation said on Monday that US prosecutors believe Valcke made the US$10 million bank transactions.

He is described in an indictment filed in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, as an unidentified "high-ranking Fifa official" who in 2008 transferred the sum to another Fifa official, Jack Warner.

Valcke's alleged connection to the case was first reported by The New York Times.

It said he had written in an e-mail to the newspaper that he neither had authorised the payment nor had the power to do so.

Fifa said, in 2007, as part of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, the South African government approved a US$10 million project to support the African diaspora in Caribbean countries.

Fifa was asked to process the project's funding by withholding US$10 million from the local organising committee's operational budget and using that to finance the diaspora legacy programme.

The South African Football Association instructed Fifa that the programme should be administered and implemented directly by the then president of Concacaf, Warner.

Warner, a former Fifa vice-president, is among 14 Fifa officials and corporate executives charged by the US Department of Justice last Wednesday with running a criminal enterprise that involved more than US$150 million in bribes.