News 16th May 2017

FIFA Secretary General returns money after cleaners overcharge

FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura is understood to have authorised the return of CHF28,000 (€25,600) after it was discovered that a company had been overcharging the international federation of football associations (FIFA) for cleaning her home. German magazine Der Spiegel reported that Samoura (pictured, left) had hired Swiss firm SCJ to clean her home five times a week for two hours per day. The contracted amount would allegedly have resulted in a CHF5,000 bill. FIFA’s auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), found that SCJ had charged for an additional 1,000 hours, taking the total to just over CHF28,000, which FIFA had paid.

SCJ is understood to be a FIFA service provider under a contract with Botta Management Group, which lists its involvement with FIFA as encompassing ‘real estate acquisition; overall project management and building’ amongst other functions. Botta Management is run by Charles Botta, the husband of Christine Maria Botta (formerly Salzmann), who was former FIFA President Joseph Blatter’s personal assistant.

The discovery and repayment are not specifically mentioned in FIFA’s 2016 Financial Report, which was published on 11 May at the recent FIFA Congress in Bahrain. However, the report does mention a US$7 million increase in ‘other’ personnel expenses. The accounts also list ‘buildings and maintenance’ expenses as falling from $13.1 million in 2015 to $11.9 million for 2016. In total, FIFA governance and administrative expenses rose by over $50 million to $248.2 million in 2016.

In a strongly-worded statement, former Chairman of the investigatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee, Cornel Borbély, said that a decision not to nominate himself and Hans-Joachim Eckert for re-election at the FIFA Congress in Bahrain may have been politically motivated. Borbély also told a press conference that he and Eckert had been removed at a time when they were looking into “several hundred” cases of potential corruption, some involving senior officials. The Sports Integrity Initiative has asked FIFA and Samoura to comment on the allegations made in Der Speigel’s article. No response had been received at time of publication.

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