Fifa Whistleblower Blazer reveals World Cup bribes
The former Fifa official has claimed that he and members of the executive committee agreed to take kickbacks over the allocation of a number of tournaments
Fifa whistleblower Chuck Blazer has claimed that bribes were taken over the selection of the host nations for the 1998 and 2010 World Cups in an extraordinary testimony.
Blazer, a former Fifa Executive Committee member, was a key witness in the corruption investigation that has led to the arrests of a number of footballing officials over allegations of money-laundering and racketeering.
And the 70-year-old has now revealed the extent to which bribery took place in the awarding of certain international events, including the World Cups in France and South Africa, following the release of details of a US court hearing from two years ago.
Speaking in 2013 in a hearing in New York over alleged tax offences, Blazer said : “I also served as General Secretary of Concacaf from 1990 through December of 2011, and was responsible for, among other things, participating in the negotiations for sponsorship and media rights.
“During my association with Fifa and Concacaf, among other things, I and others agreed that I or a co-conspirator would commit at least two acts of racketeering activity. Among other things, I agreed with other persons in or around 1992 to facilitate the acceptance of a bribe in conjunction with the selection of the host nation for the 1998 World Cup.
“Beginning in or about 1993 and continuing through the early 2000s, I and others agreed to accept bribes and kickbacks in conjunction with the broadcast and other rights to the 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2003 Gold Cups. Beginning in or around 2004 and continuing through 2011, I and others on the Fifa executive committee agreed to accept bribes in conjunction with the selection of South Africa as the host nation for the 2010 World Cup. Among other things, my actions above had common participants and results.
“Between April of 2004 and May 2011, I and others who were fiduciaries to both Fifa and Concacaf, in contravention of our duties, I and others, while acting in our official capacities, agreed to participate in a scheme to defraud Fifa and Concacaf to the right to honest services by taking undisclosed bribes. I and others agreed to use e-mail, telephone and a wire transfer into and out of the United States in furtherance of the scheme. Funds procured through these improper payments passed through JFK Airport in the form of a check (cheque).
“Between December 2008 and May 2011, I and others agreed to and transmitted funds by wire transfer and cheques from places within the United States to places in the Caribbean, and from places in the Caribbean to places in the United States. I agreed to and took these actions to, among other things, promote and conceal my receipt of bribes and kickbacks. I knew that the funds involved were the proceeds of an unlawful bribe, and I and others used wires, e-mails and telephone to effectuate payment of and conceal the nature of the bribe. Funds procured through these improper payments passed through JFK airport in the form of a check (cheque).
“Between 2005 and 2010, while a resident of New York, New York, I knowingly and wilfully failed to file an income tax return and failed to pay income taxes. In this way, I intentionally concealed my true income from the IRS, thereby defrauding the IRS of income tax owed. I knew that my actions were wrong at the time.”
Blazer was part of the Fifa Executive Committee between 1996 and 2013.
As well as holding a high position within Concacaf, the confederation for North America and the Caribbean, Blazer was also executive vice-president of the U.S. soccer federation.
His statement comes in a week which has seen Sepp Blatter confirm he will step down as Fifa president,with the FBI due to investigate the Swiss as part of their on-going inquest into alleged Fifa corruption.
A total of 14 individuals have so far been indicted by the US Department of Justice under charges of racketeering, fraud and money laundering.