KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: The 2018 World Cup finals in Russia have popped up in the security report storm raging around Donald Trump.
The United States President-elect has derided the report, handed to the security services originally by Republican Senator John McCain and whose contents were summarised in briefings to both Trump and outgoing President Barack Obama.
Both Trump and senior Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov have denied the veracity of the 35-page report which contains compromising allegations about Trump and his links to the Russian political and business establishments.
The report, apparently a series of intelligence notes, includes a claim that Trump turned down a property development opportunity connected to Russia’s hosting of the World Cup next year.
Buzzfeed has published the entire report which includes a section, referring to an exchange in 2013, saying: “The Kremlin’s cultivation of Trump also had compromised [information] offering him various lucrative real estate deals in Russia especially in relation to the ongoing 2018 soccer World Cup. However so far, for reasons unknown, Trump has not taken up any of these.”
World football federation FIFA awarded Russia host rights to the 2018 World Cup at the climax to a scandal-hit bidding process in December 2010. Beaten rivals were Belgium/Holland, Portugal/Spain and England.
Simultaneously FIFA awarded host rights for 2022, far more contentiously, to Qatar who beat off competition from the US, Japan, South Korea and Australia.
A report from the US business magazine Forbes suggests that the source for the original report could have been sourced by a British former MI6 agent, Chris Steele, who later co-founded a respected London-based investigative firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, .