KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- Ricardo Teixeira, notorious former president of the Brazilian football confederation, has reportedly been involved in possible breakthrough negotiations with the United States Department of Justice over FIFAGate corruption accusations.
Teixeira is one of three past and present CBF presidents indicted by the US DoJ in the $200m bribes case.
Jose Maria Marin, Teixeira’s former deputy at the CBF, is under house arrest in Trump Tower in New York after having been extradition following his arrest by Swiss police in their highly-publicised raid on the Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich on May 27, 2015.
Marco Polo del Nero, Marin’s successor who fled Zurich later that day and has never since dared leave Brazil, has been allowed – astonishingly – to remain in place as president of the CBF by the world football federation .
Teixeira was the most powerful of the three. He rose to power in Brazil in the 1980s with the support of Joao Havelange, his then father-in-law. Havelange headed the CBF’s predecessor the Brazilian sports confederation (CBD), for almost two decades before ousting Sir Stanley Rous as president of FIFA in 1974.
Teixeira followed in Havelange’s domestic footsteps and was voted on to the FIFA executive committee in 1989.
Later he and Havelange paid back a reported $20m in settlement of a Swiss criminal court case arising out of the bankruptcy of FIFA’s former marketing partner ISL.
The commissions paid by ISL had been routed back to Brazil via a web of companies in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
Payments to the pair were considered to have been a feature of the criminal mismanagement which prompted the company’s collapse in 2001, hence the court action.
At the time such payments were not considered bribes under Swiss law and Havelange and Teixeira always denied wrongdoing. Havelange, who resigned his honorary presidency of FIFA and membership of the International Olympic Committee, died last year aged 100.
Teixeira remained all-powerful head of the CBF until March 2012. Then, assailed on all sides by allegations concerning a mix of football, business and politics, he quit and headed for Florida.
Simultaneously he also resigned as a member of the FIFA executive committee on which he had been a voting member for the controversial 2018 and 2022 World Cup awards to Russia and Qatar.
Before leaving he negotiated an ongoing and lucrative consultancy contract with the CBF and the local organising committee of the 2014 World Cup whose hosting bid he had pushed through FIFA in 2007.
Later Teixeira returned to Brazil and put his Florida properties up for sale after events in May 2015 when it was revealed that one of the central figures in the FIFAGate corruption case was Jose Hawilla, owner of the powerful Traffic marketing and rights agency.
Hawilla, Havelange and Teixeira were long-time friends and business associates.
In December 2015 Teixeira and Del Nero were formerly named in a US DoJ corruption indictment. However they remained beyond the reach of the US since a clause in the Brazilian constitution bars the extradition of its citizens.
For the past five years Brazilian public life has been mired in the Lavo Jato (‘car wash’) corruption scandal.
One of the latest strands to emerge has focused on an alleged concealment of bribes in an ownership deal concerning the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte which was one of Brazil’s World Cup venues in 2014.
Teixeira’s business and political network was always considered central to the decision to use an unnecessarily expansive number of 12 host venues in cities and states across the country.
Ever since 2015 Brazil has been one of a number of Latin American countries with which US lawyers have been negotiating information exchange agreements concerning the football corruption inquiry.
The aim has been both to track down further evidence against the 40-plus individuals and companies already apprehended or, alternatively, encourage domestic legal action for bribery and kickbacks.
In Uruguay Eugenio Figueredo, a former president of South American confederation president, has told his own fraud trial that Teixeira was central to a system of distribution of bribes.
By contrast in Brazil a US request for banking and other information has become bogged down in the courts. However Teixeira is now reported by local media to have sensed that the net is closing in and it makes sense to enter negotiations to try to rid himself of the threat of formal process.
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