News 22 September 2015

FIFA’s day: criminal complaint, extradition & internal review

South Africa’s opposition party has lodged a criminal complaint against Danny Jordaan, President of the South African Football Association (SAFA) and Molefi Oliphant, its former President, alleging they paid a bribe to CONCACAF in return for votes for South Africa’s bid to host the 2010 World Cup. In Trinidad, the Attorney General has approved the extradition of Jack Warner, former FIFA Vice President and CONACAF President when the alleged bribe was received. Meanwhile, accountancy firm KPMG’s head office has launched an internal review of its Swiss business’ auditing of FIFA’s financial record keeping.

‘We know that both Jordaan and Oliphant are implicated in the decision to transfer the money for CONCACAF’s Diaspora Legacy Programme in two letters’, reads a 21 September Democratic Alliance statement. ‘A letter, written and signed by Jordaan in his capacity the CEO of the Bid Committee in December 2007, shows that he instructed FIFA to authorise the $10 million payment to CONCACAF. A second letter from Oliphant to FIFA in March 2008 shows the he too instructed the payment of the $10 million.’

In June, FIFA and the organising committee for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa admitted paying Warner the US$10 million, however denied that  the payment was a bribe. Although FIFA and South Africa explained that the payment was due to a project to support the African diaspora in Caribbean countries as part of the World Cup legacy, no explanation was given about how and why this sum was agreed, and no record appears to exist about how the money was spent. Although it admitted administering the payment, FIFA denied that its senior management were involved. However both letters from the South African Football Association (SAFA) are to FIFA Secretary General, Jérôme Valcke, suspended from duty last week.

‘Charles [Chuck] Blazer, a former member of FIFA’s executive committee has admitted that he 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.”’, continued the DA statement. ‘The indictment of Jack Warner, former Vice President of FIFA, revealed that at least two South African officials were central to the 2010 World Cup bribery. The two individuals have not yet been named but have been described as high ranking members of the 2010 Bid Committee and the Local Organising Committee. The indictment also details that the bribed FIFA officials were informed that “the South Africans were unable to arrange for the payment to made directly from government funds. Arrangements were thereafter made with FIFA officials to instead have the $10 million sent from FIFA – using funds that would otherwise have gone from FIFA to South Africa to support the World Cup.”

As reported by the Sports Integrity Initiative in June, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) indictment alleged that a ‘high-ranking’ FIFA official wired payments from a FIFA account in Switzerland to a Bank of America account in New York for credit accounts held in the names of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) and CONCACAF. The letters appear to confirm the DoJ’s version of events.

One of the charges against Warner listed in the DoJ indictment is acceptance of the $10 million as a bribe to vote for South Africa to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Warner may yet face trial in the US, after Trinidad’s Attorney General approved an extradition request from the US, reported the BBC.

Meanwhile, KPMG International spokesperson, Andreas Hammer, told Reuters that KPMG Switzerland’s audits for FIFA are being scrutinised by the company’s head office. Auditors are bound by law to report any financial irregularities they discover when conducting an audit. ‘At the FIFA Congress in Zurich in 2011, it was decided that renowned international audit company KPMG would be asked to audit FIFA’s financial statements for the 2011-2014 financial period’, reads FIFA’s 2014 Annual Report.

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