News 25th August 2015

Swiss find suspicious financial activities at “clean” FIFA

Swiss authorities are investigating over 100 suspicious financial activities at FIFA, which its President, Joseph S. Blatter, has insisted is “clean”. A spokesman for the Swiss Office of the Attorney General (OAG) told Reuters that it had received 103 reports of suspicious financial activity in relation to the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups to Russia and Qatar, which it has been investigating.

Meanwhile, in an interview (see below), FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter told the BBC that he is “clean” and that FIFA is not corrupt. “There is not a general organised corruption”, said Blatter. “The institution, FIFA, is not corrupt”.

Questioned about the finances of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and its former President Chuck Blazer, Blatter said that FIFA had no control over how confederations spent their money. “We, even at FIFA – and our researchers – have no rights to go to the confederation to ask them what they are doing with the money”, he said. Blazer, a former FIFA Executive Committee member, received a life ban from FIFA in July for offering and receiving illegal payments and bribes.

Blatter declined to comment on allegations that FIFA is behind documents sent to Swiss and German newspapers, which it is alleged are an attempt to discredit FIFA Presidential candidate Michel Platini. Last week, FIFA confirmed that it was investigating a UEFA complaint about the dossier. Blatter alleged in an interview with Dutch magazine De Volksrant that Platini had made Blatter’s brother cry by threatening that unless he withdrew from the Presidential election, he would go to prison.

Asked about whether he would like to see Platini elected FIFA President, Blatter said “why not? Don’t ask the President who is elated to make a comment on the race for the Presidency. I don’t mind – it’s the Congress who will decide, not me.”

On Sunday, Die Welt am Sonntag reported that FIFA Presidential candidate Chung Mong-Joon is facing a 15-year ban from football activities due to breaching FIFA’s rules on corruption. A spokesperson for Mong-Joon told AFP that the claims represented another attempt by Blatter to interfere in the election process.

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