MADRID: An astonishing account has emerged purporting to be from a courier who toured a luxury hotel handing out envelopes stuffed with cash to some of the most senior men in world football.
Spanish daily sport newspaper AS published the revelations today, after its previous allegations claiming that Paraguayan Nicolas Leoz had diverted vast commercial sums into his own personal accounts.
Paraguayan Leoz, former long-serving president of the South American confederation and member of the FIFA executive committee, is under arrest in hospital in Asuncion pending an extradition application from the United States Justice Department.
AS identified the Yacht & Golf Club hotel in Asuncion, the Paraguayan capital, as the “epicenter of FIFAGate.”
The anonymous courier was reported as saying: “I was given a million dollars in cash along with a list of names and quantities. I went to the Yacht & Golf Club hotel in Asunción and, as I was instructed, handed out the money to members of CONMEBOL at the time.
“I gave money to Julio Grondona, [Rafael] Esquivel, Osuna, De Luca… I knocked on their hotel room and handed over an envelope that contained a quantity of money that had previously prepared with their assigned amount.
“Some counted the money and others didn’t even bother . . . Certain bribes were substantial, others less so.”
Grondona was president of the Argentinian football federation and senior FIFA vice-president at the time of his death last July; Venezuela FA head Esquivel was among the Zurich Seven arrested last month; Bolivian Romer Osuna had been CONMEBOL treasurer; and De Luca was the body’s general secretary.
The courier added: “For those people, it was normal to get money and to use it to pay the bribes. The system was to withdraw money from CONMEBOL account number1280/7, and to distribute it to the names on the list. No one signed a receipt. You can’t really sign a receipt for a bribe.”