According to a new report from BBC Sport, the FBI is looking into Sepp Blatter’s role in a $100 million bribe paid to FIFA by now-defunct sports marketing company ISL. Former FIFA executive Joao Havelange apparently wrote in a letter to the FBI that Blatter was well aware of the corruption within FIFA and of this specific bribe. Apparently, the FBI began investigating Blatter before the Justice Department came down hard on FIFA in May.
From the report:
The letter, apparently written by Havelange, talks about the payments he received from ISL. It says Blatter had “full knowledge of all activities” and was “always apprised” of them.
The letter is included in an FBI request to the Swiss authorities for help with their investigation. They ask for the file of an earlier Swiss investigation into the ISL bribes and they say “among other things, the prosecutor is investigating Havelange’s statements implicating Blatter”.
In 2010, Blatter suppressed a Swiss legal finding that both Havelange and Teixeria had received bribes from ISL. In 2013, Blatter told a Fifa ethics committee inquiry he was unaware of the bribery. He was cleared of any wrongdoing.
The report also has some information on how much Qatar paid for its 2022 World Cup bid:
Lord Triesman, a former Football Association chairman, was given the figure by sources close to British intelligence.
“I was told by two sources that have always been very reliable with good information, good intelligence, that the sum that Qatar had spent on their bid was £117m.”
This is six times what England spent on its bid for the 2018 World Cup, and almost 12 times the American expenditure on their 2022 bid.
Qatar’s bid chairman did not respond to correspondence from Panorama.
Despite promising to step down in February 2016, Sepp Blatter has remained remarkably hard to pin down and actually charge with any criminal wrongdoing. This report seems to indicate that there is an effort in the works to finally do so.
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