Statement from Andrew Jennings, Jean François Tanda and Jens Weinreich
Friday January 6, 2012
We have been invited to co-operate with Joseph Blatter’s so-called ‘reform process’ at FIFA.
It is absurd that Blatter, who has benefited from the explosion of corruption during his tenure as FIFA General Secretary and President and who managed the kickback scandals for at least two decades, is controlling this ‘clean-up’ scheme. It is created by Blatter to protect him and those close to him. His pretence of a ‘road map to reform’ is risible.
Also, we are concerned that Professor Mark Pieth, through an employee, threatened legal action against one of our colleagues investigating how much Pieth was paid by FIFA and how much he will get from FIFA in future for the work in the so called Independent Governance Committee (IGC), although Professor Pieth eventually confirmed the figures.
In these circumstances – and for the reasons given below – we are unable to co-operate with FIFA’s Independent Governance Committee.
Firstly, there has to be a rigorous investigation of FIFA’s embedded corruption. The discoveries in this process would guide subsequent governance reforms.
Additionally, we cannot participate in any process that includes:
- The Amaury Group. They have a commercial relationship with FIFA, Blatter and Jérôme Valcke, staging the Ballon d´Or ceremony. That such a conflicted company could have been included in the IGC calls into question the use of the word ‘independent.’
We also state our solidarity with Denis Chaumier, the editor of the Group’s publication France Football, recently fired by Amaury General Director François Morinière. As journalists, we have no interest in collaborating with a committee that includes Mr Morinière.
- Sunil Gulati, president of the United States Soccer Federation. Mr Gulati has been silent during the two decades of Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer’s controversial stewardship of CONCACAF’s finances and the massive World Cup ticket rackets run through this regional confederation. It is reported that Mr Gulati has political aspirations at FIFA and this is an additional reason to disqualify him.
We are concerned that there has not been fuller disclosure of financial and other interests by several other members of Professor Pieth’s IGC. We support the views of the Football Supporters Europe who have also declined to be involved.
What should be happening:
- Without delay Blatter can and must publish his personal copy of the report by Zug Investigating Magistrate Thomas Hildbrand into kickback corruption at FIFA and the recipients of more than 140 million Swiss Francs (US$100 million) in bribes paid by former marketing company ISL/ISMM.We are advised that there is no legal impediment to Blatter putting his copy online today. We do not believe his claims that unnamed people are delaying publication by him. We are told that the report destroys his claim in June 2010 to have been ‘cleared’ by the investigation.
- Blatter should publically instruct his friend Jean-Marie Weber, who organised the 140 million Swiss Francs worth of kickbacks paid by ISL, to disclose the identities of all sports officials who received them.
- FIFA should adopt immediately genuine transparency. This means putting all FIFA information online – as do all first world governments – including audio/visual streaming and written minutes of all committees, accompanied by all reports submitted. All votes on all occasions must be recorded by name.
- FIFA’s published accounts are a disgrace, designed to disguise how football’s money is spent – and on whom. KPMG should be replaced by an auditor committed to transparency.
- Publication of all confidential management letters from auditors KPMG since 1999. These contain explosive evidence about misuse of FIFA funds and criminal money-laundering through FIFA’s Finance Department.
- All FIFA financial documentation since 1998 when Sepp Blatter became FIFA President should be put on-line – and then subjected to independent forensic examination.
- This material should include all payment orders made by Blatter using his astonishing power to be sole signatory of cheques. Let the world see a list of who got the money.
- FIFA’s Finance Department must produce the documentation of the $1 million kickback of March 3, 1997 from ISL to Havelange that was mistakenly sent to FIFA’s UBS account and then re-routed by General Secretary Blatter to Havelange.
- Immediate suspension of FIFA ExCo member Nicolas Leoz, identified in court in Zug in March 2008 as the recipient of $130,000 in bribes from ISL. (Later we discovered he got an additional $600,000!)
FIFA can achieve the above, swiftly, without any outside intervention. That would show a genuine commitment to reform. Then the investigations can commence.
- We think that the only credible approach is for Professor Pieth to be empowered to hire a reputable, independent investigative company to conduct due diligence into all areas of alleged FIFA corruption. We suggest the following crucial areas of investigation followed by rapid publication:
- The salaries, bonuses and other benefits paid in the last decade to Blatter, Jérôme Valcke and all departmental directors.
- All fees, bonuses and expenses – submitted and paid – of ExCo members in the last decade. And details of their Swiss tax arrangements.
- The contracts and cost since 1998 of Blatter’s use of expensive chartered jets, his destinations and justifications for trips.
- The allegations of corruption in the awarding of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and to Qatar in 2022 and the actions, where appropriate, of ExCo members Issa Hayatou, Jacques Anouma, Hany Abo Rida and Amos Adamu. This crucial investigation should be handled professionally by law enforcement agencies or an independent investigation company, and where possible, liaising and assisting the current FBI investigations.
- Investigating all aspects of the FIFA-related activities of Worawi Makudi of Thailand including the disclosure of money from FIFA’s Goal and FAP-programme and also World Cup TV rights for Thailand.
- Investigation of allegations made in Argentina that FIFA finance committee chair Julio Grondona controls offshore accounts, mostly in Switzerland, containing $120 million. There seems no obvious source of this wealth.
- Investigation is long overdue into how Chuck Blazer could simultaneously be both Treasurer and General Secretary of CONCACAF – and the secret payment to him of $10 million in recent years as ‘commissions.’ Have his offshore assets come from FIFA funds – including his vintage Mercedes car registered in Zurich in FIFA’s name?
- Re-open the investigation into Jack Warner and extend it to embrace every payment of any kind since 1998 to Warner, members of his family, companies owned by him including Simpaul travel agency, the CFU, CONCACAF and the João Havelange Centre of Excellence.
- Investigate Blatter’s election campaign expenses for every election including 1998. In that campaign he charged his expenses to FIFA.
- Who paid Walter de Gregorio and Brian Alexander to organise Blatter’s campaign in 2011 to retain the Presidency? Mr Alexander does not appear to be employed by FIFA but he briefs reporters at FIFA House on behalf of Blatter. Who pays him now?
Additional comments by:
1. I am becoming weary of the continual deceptions of FIFA’s press office which appears under orders to protect Blatter and General Secretary Valcke and ignore the public interest.
2. FIFA ticks all the boxes in academic definitions of Organised Crime Syndicates. I welcome more discussion of this theme.
1. This is my personal view and not that of my editor.
2. Regarding the TV rights for Jack Warner the crucial point is: Who approved the books/accounts of Fifa every year despite the fact that Warner is alleged never to have paid for them? In the books of Fifa, these TV rights were not booked with only 1 US $.
1. The 20 points of action we demand can only be a starting point for all FIFA investigations. Every further suggestion is welcomed.
2. I totally agree with the analysis that FIFA ticks all the boxes in academic definitions of Organised Crime Syndicates. I welcome more discussion of this theme.
3. Disclosure and destination of all fees, expenses and other monies paid to Blatter’s (former?) so-called personal ‘strategic advisor’ Peter Hargitay and businesses – including media and World Cup tickets – he has been connected with in the last decade. Where inappropriate, repayment to be demanded.
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