Latest Fifa rap sheet longer than expected

WASHINGTON • An internal investigation of world football's governing body has uncovered wrongdoing that extends beyond the corruption alleged last year by US prosecutors, according to a person familiar with the information.

The new details could prompt fresh charges, should authorities in the US and Switzerland choose to pursue them, according to the source.

Some of the findings relate to Fifa commercial contracts and alleged bribes paid by former officials. The findings, which could be presented to Fifa's top leadership this month, are likely to add to a global scandal that has already unseated world football's top leaders and cast a shadow over the World Cup, the world's most popular sporting event.

The law firm carrying out the investigation, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, has billed Fifa more than US$30 million (S$42 million) for the investigation, the person said.

Fifa's mounting legal costs have led some members of the organisation to question how long the football body will be required to retain its lawyers. The internal probe started shortly after the US Justice Department announced charges against several senior football officials in May 2015 and alleged widespread corrupt behaviour dating back more than two decades.

Swiss prosecutors started separate investigations into Fifa after the US filed charges. They accuse Fifa's ex-president Sepp Blatter of criminal mismanagement related to the sale of media rights in the Caribbean and a suspected "disloyal payment" of two million Swiss francs (S$2.84 million) to former European football head Michel Platini.

 

  • $42m

    How much Fifa will be billed for the internal investigation.

That case remains active, and new details uncovered by Fifa's internal investigation will be shared with Swiss authorities.

Blatter denies wrongdoing. The Justice Department charged about 40 individuals and companies with counts including racketeering, wire fraud and money-laundering conspiracy. The sprawling indictment described bribery and kickback schemes related to media and sponsorship rights worth more than US$200 million.

The charges led to the ousting of most of Fifa's senior management. Blatter, his longtime No. 2, Jerome Valcke, and former Uefa chief Platini, were also banned from the sport.

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 09, 2017, with the headline 'Latest Fifa rap sheet longer than expected'. Print Edition | Subscribe