FIFA scandal moves a step closer to Blatter

fifa

The investigations into bribery and racketeering at FIFA , the governing body of international soccer. have moved one step closer to Sepp Blatter with the Financial Times reporting that Blatter’s right hand man Jerome Valcke is at the centre of a bribe to designate South Africa as the host of the 2010 World Cup. The allegation, according to a US Justice Department indictment, is that he transferred $10 million in 2008 from FIFA to accounts controlled by another soccer official, Jack Warner.

Mr Valcke, a Frenchman, is a close ally of Mr Blatter. He was appointed general secretary of football’s global body in 2007 at Mr Blatter’s suggestion. Surprise surprise. The two men clasped hands after Mr Blatter won re-election to his post last week.

As reported here, a spokeswoman for FIFA said the $US10 million in bank transactions were authorized by the then-FIFA Finance Committee chairman. The Finance Committee chairman was Julio Grondona, who died last year.

Still, it’s hard to believe the US Justice Department got it wrong.  As William Rashbaum and Matt Apuzzo at the New York Times say,  Valcke’s involvement is sure to raise more questions about what Mr. Blatter knew about the money transfer.

Meanwhile, South Africa has denied that the money was a bribe. But then, they would say that.

US prosecutors brought charges last week against 14 soccer officials and marketing executives accused of corrupting FIFA.

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