Football: Swiss authorities ask Fifa for access to suspended general secretary's e-mails

Fifa has been asked to grant investigators access to the e-mail of its suspended general secretary Jerome Valcke (above).
Fifa has been asked to grant investigators access to the e-mail of its suspended general secretary Jerome Valcke (above). PHOTO: REUTERS

ZURICH (REUTERS) - Switzerland's Attorney General Michael Lauber has formally asked Fifa to give investigators access to the e-mail accounts of the global soccer organisation's suspended general secretary Jerome Valcke.

"The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) has requested Fifa to get access to all e-mail accounts of Jerome Valcke," a spokesman for the office said in an e-mail. "These e-mail accounts are under seal by Fifa so far.

The OAG has not received access to J. Valcke's e-mail accounts until today due to Fifa sealing them."

Valcke, the second-in-command to president Sepp Blatter at Fifa, was put on leave and "released from his duties" last Thursday after allegations he was involved in a plan to re-sell 2014 World Cup tickets at a big mark-up, pending an investigation by the Fifa ethics committee.

A source close to Fifa said late on Wednesday in response to questions from Reuters that it was never the organisation's intent to withhold Valcke's e-mails from prosecutors and that it was likely they will be handed over to the Attorney General's office on Thursday.

A Fifa spokesman said: "We are committed to collaborating with the authorities and it is an ongoing process."

Access to e-mails could give Swiss investigators insight into potentially valuable information about Valcke's work, and that of other officials, within the troubled body.

Swiss investigators have been looking into Fifa corruption in a parallel probe to that being carried out by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). In May, the DOJ indicted 14 soccer officials and sports marketing executives on a series of corruption-related charges, with seven arrested in Zurich just before a Fifa congress.

Valcke, a 54-year-old Frenchman, has been in the job for the past eight years and is the highest profile figure in the corruption-plagued organisation to be targeted during the current series of scandals.

Ticket dealer Benny Alon produced documents last week claiming there was a deal between his company, JB Sports Marketing, and Valcke. The former Israeli s footballer said he agreed in 2013 to pay cash to Valcke to secure plum World Cup tickets in Brazil. He said the plan was to then to sell the tickets to fans at a mark-up and split the proceeds with Valcke, though he added that the deal was never completed.

"As for JB Sports Marketing, Fifa has delivered information to the OAG," said the spokesman for the OAG.

Valcke's lawyer last week "unequivocally" denied the allegations, labelling them as "fabricated and outrageous".

The Valcke case was handed over on Thursday to the Investigatory Chamber of Fifa's Ethics Committee and he could face a possible ban from future involvement in the game if he is found to have broken Fifa ethics rules.

Lauber said last week that his investigation had so far gathered around 11 terabytes of electronic data and that 121 different bank accounts have been flagged for suspicious activity.

The Attorney General also said that his office had conducted house searches in western Switzerland and seized apartments in the Swiss mountains that may have been used to launder money.