FIFA hit with bribery and ‘possible money laundering’ claims

FIFA has had to face many questions surrounding the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups

Fresh allegations that bribes were paid to help Germany secure the 2006 World Cup have surfaced with claims that a FIFA member from New Zealand was paid €250,000 on the eve of the vote.

Theo Zwanziger, the former head of the German FA, claims a Swiss court document bears out his belief that the late Charles Dempsey was paid off – Dempsey had been mandated to vote for South Africa but abstained and Germany won the vote 12-11.

The court document is from the trial of executives from FIFA’s former marketing partners ISL. It was published in 2012 and Zwanziger has made public his own copy from that year where he wrote “Dempsey!” next to a payment to an anonymous recipient referred to as E16 – made on July 5, 2000, the eve of the vote.

What is not in dispute is that Dempsey left the vote in Zurich early and returned to New Zealand. He was awarded FIFA’s order of merit in 2004, and died in 2008 aged 87.

Zwanziger’s claims are the latest allegations in a scandal which has rocked German football.

“There are outstanding matters which touch upon money-laundering, there are a number of matters we are still looking at and digging in to” – David Green, SFO

Former World Cup bid leader Franz Beckenbauer has been forced to deny allegations by German news weekly der Spiegel that a payment of 6.7million euros to FIFA in 2005 was connected to a slush fund used to secure the 2006 World Cup.

Beckenbauer, 70, said in a statement the bid committee had made “a mistake” over the money but that “no votes were bought”.

He and German FA (DFB) president Wolfgang Niersbach, who is accused of knowing about the fund and the payments, say the money was paid in order to secure further FIFA funding.

The DFB has launched an internal investigation into what happened to the money.

Elsewhere, the Serious Fraud Office in Britain is looking at potential money-laundering offences involving the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, the organisation’s director has told MPs.

David Green said the SFO had no jurisdiction to go after FIFA under bribery laws but that there may have been potential money-laundering offences. One of these involved a £270,000 payment payment by the Australia 2022 bid committee to Jack Warner which may have gone through London.

Green, giving evidence to the culture, media and sport select committee, said: “We are still examining issues around possible money laundering and I won’t be able to go into detail as new information has come to us quite recently.”

Asked about the Australia payment, Green said: “I cannot confirm the assertion that money went through London – it certainly started off in Sydney and appears to have ended up in Trinidad.

“It could be money-laundering yes. Whether the money came through London is important.

“There are outstanding matters which touch upon money-laundering, there are a number of matters we are still looking at and digging in to.”

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