KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: FIFA’s United States court claim for restitution and damages from the FIFAGate criminals runs to 22 pages.
The document names all 41 indicted thus far and accuses them directly of “grossly abusing their positions of trust to enrich themselves.”
The harm caused “includes large financial losses (including but not limited to losses for salaries and/or benefits paid to the defendants, and for funds that were diverted from their intended uses to defendants’ pockets), as well as damage to FIFA’s reputation, intellectual property, and business relationships.”
It added: “The damage done by the defendants’ greed cannot be overstated.
“Their actions have deeply tarnished the FIFA brand and impaired FIFA’s ability to use its resources for positive actions throughout the world, and to meet its global mission of supporting and enhancing the game of football.
“The United States government has ensured the forfeiture of more than $190m in assets and identified, recovered, or frozen more than $100m in the United States and abroad relating to the defendants’ felonious schemes.
“These funds should be used to compensate the victims of the defendants’ crimes, particularly FIFA and its member associations and confederations.”
FIFA’s statement then set out the organisation’s structure, history, competitions and role in promoting and developing the game worldwide.
Unfortunately “the defendants sought to exploit this structure as they ascended to powerful roles in various member associations, continental confederations, and FIFA.
“They looked for ways to line their own pockets and siphon off opportunities. They did violence to FIFA’s principles, goals, and objectives as they promoted their own self-interests and sought to enrich themselves at FIFA’s and football’s expense.
“They sold the power of their positions, including by taking bribes and kickbacks in return for selling the valuable marketing rights associated with football tournaments and competitions.
“Together, the defendants misappropriated FIFA’s resources, its brand, and its commercial value to enlarge their own bank accounts. Their schemes were simplistic, but many in nature. In essence, they betrayed their duties and sold their powers to the highest bidder.
“Multiple indictments have now been returned that demonstrate varying schemes. Each one of them harmed FIFA, its member associations, the continental confederations, and the game of football.”
The statement then described the corrupt scheming of former CONCACAF president Jack Warner and other members of the FIFA executive committee.
It said: “It is now apparent that multiple members of FIFA’s Executive Committee abused their positions and sold their votes on multiple occasions.”
Warner, together with Chuck Blazer, Warner’s son Daryan Warner and other co-conspirators “engineered a $10m payoff in exchange for executive committee votes regarding where the 2010 FIFA World Cup would be hosted.
“The scheme built off defendant Warner’s corrupt vote in 1992 for Morocco to host the 1998 FIFA World Cup, when he accepted a bribe from the Moroccan bid committee in exchange for his vote for Morocco.
“Twelve years later, the Morocco bid committee once again offered defendant Warner and Charles Blazer (who now also had a vote as an executive committee member) a bribe, this time of $1m.
“But defendant Warner and his family had already established close ties to South Africa during South Africa’s failed bid to host the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
“For example, Daryan Warner had organised a series of friendly matches among CONCACAF teams to be played in South Africa, relying on his father’s network of contacts there.
“Daryan Warner had also served as his father’s bagman, traveling to a hotel in Paris, France to receive a briefcase with $10,000 in cash from a high-ranking South African bid committee official and immediately returning to Trinidad and Tobago to give it to Defendant Warner.
South African connection
“Ultimately, given defendant Warner’s strong illicit ties to the South African bid committee, the South Africans offered a more attractive bribe of $10m in exchange for Warner’s, Blazer’s, and a third executive committee member’s votes.
“Warner and his co-conspirators lied to FIFA about the nature of the payment, disguising it as support for the benefit of the ‘African Diaspora’in the Caribbean region, when in reality it was a bribe.
“They disguised and funneled the bribe money through the financial accounts of FIFA, member associations, and the 2010 FIFA World Cup local organizing committee.”
The power and influence of Warner and Blazer was immense.
The statement explained: “At the time of the scheme, Warner was a member of the FIFA Executive Committee, a FIFA vice-president, and the president of both CONCACAF and the Caribbean Football Union which had 31 member associations in its ranks.
“Blazer was also a member of FIFA’s executive committee, at times a member of FIFA’s marketing and television committees, and the general secretary of CONCACAF. They breached the fundamental duties they owed to FIFA, CFU, and CONCACAF and stole $10m.”
The statement then described how Warner was complicit in trying to buy votes for the Qatari Mohamed bin Hammam in his vain bid for power in the 2011 FIFA presidential election. Ultimately the scheme was uncovered and Warner was forced out of FIFA and football.
The statement continued by recounting how Warner profited from the sale of regional World Cup broadcasting rights through crooked deals with Traffic USA, a subsidiary of Jose Hawilla’s Traffic Group. After Warner’s FIFA exit his CONCACAF presidential successor Jeffrey webb – with assistant Costas Takkas – “picked up where defendant Warner left off.”
A swath of other senior federation officials in central and South America had enriched themselves through similar commercial rip-offs.
The statement added: “By corrupting these tournaments, matches, sponsorships, and other football affairs through their backroom deals and secret payoffs, the defendants dragged FIFA into their sordid misconduct.
“The amount of this graft should be returned to FIFA and its member associations to be distributed for the benefit of international football.”