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Knighthoods for votes and other alleged FIFA misdeeds

Reuters
These are just the officials who have been indicted.
  • Heather Timmons
By Heather Timmons

White House correspondent

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

As the US Department of Justice’s investigates the so-called “World Cup of Fraud,” in which officials from soccer’s top governing body allegedly took $150 million in bribes and kick-backs, details emerging about FIFA members are astounding. Here are some of the most brazen allegations from both the indictment and previous reports:

A suitcase stacked with dollars. Jack Warner, the former head of the Central and North American Football Association, was allegedly bribed with a suitcase filled with $10,000 in stacks of bills, left in a Paris hotel, to cast a vote for South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup, according to the US Department of Justice. Warner, who has resigned from the football business entirely, denies the charges.

A Miami condo with soccer cash. Daryll Warner, Jack’s son, “funded a 2005 purchase of a Miami, Florida condominium, held in 33 the name of a member of his family, with money drawn from an account held in the name of a soccer facility” the DOJ alleges. Daryll and his brother have been cooperating with US officials in the investigation.

The FIFA rep who demanded a knighthood. Nicholas Leoz, the 86 year old head of the South American Football Association, reportedly demanded a British knighthood in exchange for his vote supporting England’s bid for the 2018 World Cup. He is not a knight, nor is England hosting the 2018 cup. Through a lawyer, he has denied all charges related to the investigation.

A $6,000 apartment for a FIFA rep’s cats. Chuck Blazer, a US FIFA rep-turned-FBI informant, ran up $29 million in credit card charges while associated with FIFA, and worked and lived out of a $18,000-a-month apartment in Manhattan’s Trump Tower, the Daily News reported. He rented a nearby, $6,000-a-month apartment in the tower “largely for his unruly cats,” the Daily News said. Blazer has been indicted on tax evasion charges.

The FIFA exec who expensed 97 breakfasts in 20 days. Vitaly Mutko, the Russian sports minister, has not been named in the FIFA investigation, and said Wednesday that Russia had “nothing to hide.” But his reported behavior in the past is raising questions now. An unrelated investigation by Russian officials after the Vancouver Olympic Games showed he had requested 97 breakfast vouchers over a 20-day stay in Vancouver.

There’s no mention of FIFA’s Zurich boardroom in the DOJ indictment, but its sinister appearance, which has been noted before, is being raised again:

These aren’t the only allegations against FIFA officials, of course, just some of the most brazen. As the investigation widens, and global companies like Nike become involved, expect more even more bad behavior to come to light.

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