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FIFA President under Criminal Investigation
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FIFA Sepp Blatter

Summary: Swiss officials have interrogated and searched the FIFA president’s office for evidence relating to two suspicious activities that he engaged in.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter is being investigated by the Switzerland attorney general. Although the United States is also investigating Blatter, the Swiss case is looking into “criminal mismanagement and suspicion of misappropriation of funds” separately.

  
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Friday morning Blatter and the top executives for FIFA conferenced three levels below ground in the headquarters of the organization to discuss budgets, governance reforms, and schedules for the World Cup tournaments. When they emerged in the afternoon, officials were waiting for Blatter.

For the next few hours, instead of making an announcement to the press about decisions from the meeting, he spent it being interrogated. Officials searched his office five floors above the bunker and removed boxes of documents as part of the criminal investigation.

There are two things that investigators are specifically concerned with. The first is an incident involving the payment of over $2 million to former soccer star and administrator Michel Platini for work he did over a decade ago. Platini is now the head of the European governing body for soccer. He’s also a potential successor to Blatter for the FIFA presidency, which will open up next year when Blatter steps down.

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The second incident involves Blatter signing a contract for World Cup television rights for way under market value. The television contract was sold for $600,000 to indicted former FIFA official Jack Warner. Warner then licensed the rights to the footage for around $20 million, or 33 times the amount of the contract.

The circumstances in both instances are suspicious enough to raise red flags and make officials wonder what is going on. Blatter could now face an investigation by FIFA’s independent ethics committee.



This is the second time that Swiss officials have searched and seized documents from FIFA’s headquarters. In May they arrested 14 top soccer and marketing officials under the direction of the U.S. Department of Justice. While Blatter was not charged or arrested that day, he has been under investigation since.

See Greek Soccer Player Receives Ban Following Nazi Salute.

Source: New York Times

Photo: forbes.com



 

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