Juan Pedro Damiani is a longstanding member of FIFA’s ethics committee, the primary internal body that as of late has been tasked with rooting out the corruption of FIFA’s members and banning them from soccer’s governing body. From what we know about FIFA, it shouldn’t shock you to discover that Damiani is now suspected of not being all that ethical himself.
When not sitting on the ethics committee’s adjudicatory board, Damiani is a lawyer and also the president of Peñarol, a prominent club in his native Uruguay. All of this naturally makes him a prominent figure in Uruguayan soccer. Which, South American soccer being what it is, has put him in contact with some unsavory characters.
One such character is Eugenio Figueredo, a compatriot of Damiani who was once a vice president of FIFA. Figueredo lost his position in FIFA when the ethics committee provisionally banned him after he was arrested and charged by the U.S. Department of Justice for allegedly receiving millions of dollars in bribes from marketing companies in exchange for sweetheart television rights deals for future Copa América tournaments.
However, in the Panama Papers that Süddeutsche Zeitung and other outlets received and reported on yesterday (to make the long, confusing story of the Panama Papers short: a whistleblower leaked to the media an unprecedented number of internal documents of a Panamanian law firm that specialized in setting up sham corporations in tax havens around the world), it was revealed that Damiani, through his law firm, had extensive financial ties to Figueredo.