KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —– The tentacles of the ISL affaire, most destructive scandal in the history of FIFA, are reaching out towards Barcelona president Sandro Rosell.
The timing is unfortunate, to say the least, just as Rosell has infuriated not only his opponents among Barcelona members but created new ones by scrapping the club’s tradition of free match entry for the under-sevens “on safety grounds.”
The former Nike executive finds himself caught in a pincer movement between, on the one hand, his Barcelona critics and, on the other, the persistent Brazil media which continues to pursue Ricardo Teixeira and all those linked to his infamous reign at the CBF.
Rosell’s business relationship with Teixeira has been well documented:
After leaving ISL Spain and joining Nike, Rosell landed the sportswear giant’s long-term sponsorship contract with the Brazilian football confederation [A vice-president of ISL Spain was Jean-Marie Weber whose name will reverberate for all who have followed Andrew Jennings’s ISL investigations].
Subsequently Rosell, after leaving Nike and launching his own marketing company, was involved with Teixeira in a string of money-making initiatives.
One was the contentious Ailanto company. Another saw offshore companies linked to Rosell benefiting from multi-million commissions for arranging the lucrative friendly match programme of the Brazilian national team.
In March 2012 the former son-in-law of long-time ex-FIFA president Joao Havelange quit the presidency of both the CBF and the 2014 World Cup local organising committee and resigned his place on the world federation’s executive committee.
But before Teixeira undertook his moonlight flit to Miami, to escape increasing investigatory pressure, he extended the match contract for a further 10 years.
Teixeira then left the CBF presidency in the hands of former vice-president Jose Maria Marin though he is still reported to have a consultancy arrangement. Marin, questioned about the match contract, claims its terms have been varied though the contract as such remains in place.
In the meantime Rosell has been shown up as involved in a company which arranged temporary residency for Teixeira in Andorra. Coincidentally, some of the CBF match commissions also find their way to a bank in the Spanish border tax haven.
As for ISL . . . Teixeira and Havelange were revealed by court documents last year as having received millions of dollars in illicit payments in return for helping facilitate 2002 and 2006 World Cup TV contracts.
Legal action had been forestalled because FIFA arranged for $2.45m to be paid back to the liquidator of its bankrupt former marketing partner.
The latest tranche of documents unearthed by the Estado newspaper of Sao Paulo bring Rosell indelicately close to the heat of the action.
According to official documents, an individual identified only as P5 “conducted transactions in the name of Ricardo Terra Teixeira.” Some $2,4m was transferred from a bank in Zurich to an account in the name of Teixeira in Andorra: “P5 then withdrew the payments in liquid cash and paid them in to the account of Ricardo Terra Teixeira.”
Estado claims that the company managing the return of the monies was Bon Us SL. It deposited $2,5m in the account of Peter Nobel – described by the newspaper as some time lawyer of FIFA president Sepp Blatter – who then sent the money to FIFA. Four days later, another $100,000 was moved from a bank in Andorra to Nobel, as payments for his services.
Bon Us is linked to a Polish-registered company Co-Invest SP one of whose partners is Joan Besoli, a business associate of Rosell. Both Besoli and Rosell are involved in Comptages SL which organised Teixeira’s Andorran residency application.
Besoli is also a financial adviser of Sant Julia de Loria which is the locality of one of Teixeira’s registered addresses in Andorra.
The sums of money creamed off by a handful of powerful men may offend fans’ sense of morality but the truth is that the CBF is a private organisation and if it has no complaint then no formal wrongdoing can be alleged or inferred.
Similarly, Barcelona members (and fans) may wonder about the highly complex former commercial life of their president but no-one has shown that he has committed any offence either.
For the time being Teixeira is protected by the imminence of the World Cup.
He had a pragmatic pact with previous Brazilian President Lula da Silva based on politics, power and persuasion. Not with successor Dilma Rousseff. Her contempt for Teixeira is total.
Many Brazilians believe Rousseff is waiting until the end of the World Cup before chasing out Teixeira and his secrets; then more information should emerge about the Rosell connection.
By next autumn, however, her priority will be on seeking re-election. Teixeira (and Rosell) may find time is their most valuable currency.