New York » Two and a half years before the Winter World Cup in Qatar, the controversial host and the world football association FIFA are shaken by explosive details in the US trial crime.
Bribery of a total of four ex-officials, conspiratorial e-mails, payments via straw companies in the Caribbean: the prosecutor’s office outlines the alleged fraud in the World Cup awards to Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 in an official indictment on 70 pages.
After years of investigations and more than 40 accusations in the FIFA corruption scandal, the allegations by the American law enforcement authorities are putting pressure on the Qatari World Cup organizers – and could revive calls for consequences. From an expert point of view, a new award is unrealistic. Upon request, FIFA announced that it would seek further information from the US Department of Justice and continued to promise “full cooperation” with the authorities.
The organizers of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar clearly rejected allegations of bribery. The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), which is responsible for hosting the World Cup in Qatar, said that it had “strictly adhered to all the rules and regulations in the bidding process” on request from TEH. “All claims to the contrary are unfounded and are contested violently.”
Three media rights dealers and one Uruguayan company are accused of remittance and money laundering charges in a Brooklyn federal trial released on April 6. Explosives can also be found in the other sub-items of the investigation.
Accordingly, three South American officials are said to have received money for their vote in Qatar: Nicolás Leoz, who has since died, then head of the South American continental association; Ricardo Teixeira, former soccer boss of Brazil, who was banned from life for other crimes by FIFA; and an unidentified co-conspirator who held high positions in FIFA and Argentine football.
“When it comes to corruption, it is always important that payment is linked to an action. We are not one step further, »said anti-corruption expert Sylvia Schenk on the allegations surrounding the Qatar surcharge. “There is a lack of essential facts: who paid how much and how was the link.”
The head of the Sports working group at Transparency International Germany also does not expect the World Cup to be awarded: “Due to the financial consequences and the expected duration of the proceedings, every court in the world would decide that this would not be reversed.” However, the unsuccessful applicants may be entitled to compensation if they complain.
Almost two and a half years ago, key witness Alejandro Burzaco, ex-head of an Argentine sports marketing company, testified that former FIFA vice-president Julio Grondona should have received more than 800,000 euros when Qatar was awarded the World Cup. Gianni Infantino had seen no reason for taking new steps against Qatar in this regard alone: “Unfortunately, there is a bad past. We have to learn and look ahead, »said the FIFA chief in December 2017.
There are also serious accusations surrounding the awarding of the 2018 World Cup to Russia. According to the indictment, Jack Warner, who has now been banned for life, has received a $ 5 million kickback for his vote – paid through ten offshore straw companies in more than two dozen transfers. The name of the demonstrably corrupt ex-FIFA vice from Trinidad and Tobago also appeared in the scandal surrounding the 2006 World Cup in connection with a draft contract.
A Kremlin spokesman rejected the allegations “categorically”. The former head of the Russian World Cup organizing committee, Alexei Sorokin, also emphasized that no officials had been bought. “That’s just an opinion of lawyers,” he said, looking at the indictment.
This quotes from emails that the partner of an adviser to ex-FIFA President Joseph Blatter is said to have written to Warner’s assistant: “Kindly point out that” what has been agreed will be done this week” Should the “Dear friend” not keeping “promises” would cause the writer “personally extreme difficulties”. Ex-official Rafael Salguero from Guatemala is said to have been offered at least one million US dollars for his vote to Russia.
An investigation led by the former head of the FIFA Ethics Committee, Michael Garcia, had revealed many suspicious details about the award to Russia and Qatar, but could not prove bribery of the electorate. For example, two million US dollars went to the account of a ten-year-old daughter of a member of the FIFA executive, the report said when the report was published in 2017. The report also found that there was “no evidence in the minutes” for one Give connection of payment to Qatar application.
After the first arrests of FIFA officials shortly before the re-election of the then world leader Blatter in May 2015, there were charges against 42 people, 26 were publicly known. Former continental president Juan Àngel Napout is in prison in Florida. The former head of Brazilian football, Jose Maria Marin, was last released from custody because of the coronavirus pandemic. Numerous defendants are still awaiting judgment.