Newspaper article International New York Times

FIFA Notes Inquiries on Numerous Officials ; It Confirms Investigations of Nearly a Dozen Past and Current Executives

Newspaper article International New York Times

FIFA Notes Inquiries on Numerous Officials ; It Confirms Investigations of Nearly a Dozen Past and Current Executives

Article excerpt

FIFA confirmed that it was actively investigating nearly a dozen current and former officials, amounting to a who's who of past FIFA scandals.

FIFA's ethics committee took less than a day to exercise some of its new transparency powers, confirming that it was actively investigating nearly a dozen current and former officials.

Most of the names released Wednesday were not new: the FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, and the head of European soccer's governing body, Michel Platini, had already been provisionally barred with FIFA looking into what has been described as a "disloyal payment" of about $2 million by Mr. Blatter to Mr. Platini.

But ethics committee investigators also confirmed that they had advanced cases related to Franz Beckenbauer, the former German star who once served on FIFA's governing executive committee, and Angel Maria Villar of Spain, the FIFA senior vice president who is temporarily running Europe's governing body, UEFA, while Mr. Platini is suspended.

The committee did not detail the accusations against Mr. Beckenbauer and Mr. Villar, but news media reports have linked both men to the investigation into the bidding for World Cups. Their cases have been forwarded by investigators to the ethics committee's adjudicatory chamber; in effect, the evidence against them has been presented to the committee's judge, Hans-Joachim Eckert, for sentencing.

The committee did note that its investigation of Jerome Valcke was related to "the suspicion of misuse of expenses and other infringements." Mr. Valcke, FIFA's top administrator and Mr. Blatter's top deputy, was relieved of his duties last month amid charges that he had profited from a black-market ticketing scheme. Like the others, he has denied wrongdoing.

The other names released Wednesday amount to a who's who of past FIFA scandals: Jeffrey Webb, the former Concacaf president who was arrested at a Zurich hotel in May; Eugenio Figueredo and Nicolas Leoz, who were included in United States indictments in May; Ricardo Teixeira, the former Brazilian soccer chief who quit FIFA in 2012 to head off an earlier corruption inquiry; Amos Adamu, a Nigerian who served a three-year ban from world soccer for soliciting a bribe in exchange for his vote in the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups; and Worawi Makudi, a Thai soccer official and former executive committee member who was provisionally suspended earlier this week. …

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