News 21st August 2015

Brazilian Senate commission approves investigation of CBF President

A commission investigating allegations of corruption at the Brazilian football confederation (CBF) has agreed to probe the banking and financial records of Marco Polo Del Nero, CBF President. The move was requested by the President of a congressional investigation (CPI) appointed by the Brazilian Senate to investigate the allegations, former international footballer-turned Senator, Romario.

“Del Nero should do the same as Ricardo Teixeira [former CBF President] and disappear”, said Romario (pictured) in a press conference, read a 20 August Senate statement. “Every day brings new allegations and we will continue investigating – that is guaranteed”.

The Senate statement also said that the CPI do Futebol would investigate the banking and financial records of Wagner Abrahão, the CBF official in charge of CBF travel and tournament logistics. It said that the CPI do Futebol will speak to the President of Brazilian club Vasco de Gama, Eurico Miranda, US General Attorney Loretta Lynch and UK journalist Andrew Jennings. It will also probe all financial transfers made from the government’s Ministry of Sport to sporting confederations between 2005 and 2015. It will also seek copies of all CBF contracts held at the Rio de Janeiro Board of Trade.

As such, the Senate said that the CPI do Futebol will appoint an official to assist with the technical and investigative work. As reported by the Sports Integrity Initiative, the CPI group was appointed by the Senate in July. It is headed by Senator Romario with the support of two other Senators – Helio José and Wellington Fagundes.

The group’s remit for investigation includes preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, and various allegations of corruption made in the Department of Justice’s (DoJ) 47-count indictment against FIFA and other football officials. This alleges that Alejandro Burzaco of sports marketing company Torneos y Competencias S.A. and Hugo and Mariano Jinkis, of Full Play Group S.A. entered into a contract with Brazilian businessman José Hawilla’s Traffic Group to secure the rights to CONMEBOL tournaments.

‘Co-Conspirator #2 and the defendants Alejandro Burzaco, Hugo Jinkis and Mariano Jinkis caused their respective companies to join together and form a new entity known as Datisa’, reads the indictment. ‘Following creation of this entity, Datisa entered into a $317.5 million contract with CONMEBOL to obtain the exclusive worldwide rights to the 2015, 2019, and 2023 editions of the Copa America and the 2016 Copa America Centenario, a tournament to celebrate the lOOth anniversary of  the first edition of the Copa America […] In connection with the acquisition of the media rights to the Copa America and Centenario tournaments from CONMEBOL and CONCACAF, Datisa agreed to pay $110 million in bribes to the defendants Jeffrey Webb, Eugenio Figueredo, Rafael Esquivel, José Maria Marin, and Nicolás Leoz, and several other soccer officials. Datisa agreed to make these payments at various times over the life of the contracts. At least $40 million has been paid to date.’

In March 2012, Teixeira resigned as chairman of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee and President of the CBF. After years of widespread media scrutiny into bribery and corruption allegations at FIFA, the Swiss Federal Court handed BBC Panorama documents naming Teixeira and former FIFA President Joao Havelange as two officials who were forced to repay bribes as part of an out of court settlement in 2010. In ‘Panorama – FIFA’s Dirty Secrets’ (transcript here), aired in November 2010, Jennings named the two officials as recipients of bribes from the Swiss ISL sports marketing company, which was repeatedly given the lucrative rights to market World Cup TV contracts by FIFA. According to a statement published in 2013 by Hans-Joachim Eckert, the Chairman of the FIFA Adjudicatory Chamber, on the examination into the bribes, the acceptance of bribe money by Havelange and Teixeira were not punishable under Swiss criminal law at the time, but was deemed to constitute ‘morally and ethically reproachable conduct.’

It is understood that the group’s remit also includes investigation of the CBF’s contract with Internacional Sports Events (ISE), after newspaper articles alleged that it allowed ISE to influence team selection for friendly internationals. The CBF has denied the allegations, but admitted that it did have a contract with ISE, Kentaro and Pitch International allowing the arrangement of friendly internationals.

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