REPORT: US prosecutors believe FIFA president's top deputy transferred $10 million in bribe money

Jerome ValckeReuters/Arnd WiegmannFIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke gestures as he addresses a news conference.

Law enforcement officials believe FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke moved money related to an alleged World Cup vote bribe from FIFA bank accounts to an account controlled by arrested FIFA official Jack Warner, William K. Rashbaum and Matt Apuzzo of the New York Times report.

Valcke, FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s No. 2 man, was not arrested and isn’t accused of any wrongdoing. He told The Times that “he had not authorised the payment and did not have the power to do so.” FIFA told The Times that the finance committee chairman Julio Grondona, who has since died, authorised the payment.

This is all related to one of the most damning allegations in the Department of Justice’s 164-page indictment of nine current and former FIFA officials, which concerns an alleged $US10 million bribe made to soccer official Jack Warner in exchange for supporting South Africa’s 2010 World Cup bid.

In May 2004, the indictment alleges, a group of officials representing South Africa’s World Cup bid promised Warner the South African government would make a $US10 million payment to the Warner-controlled Caribbean Football Union to “support the African diaspora” if he and two other executive committee members backed the country’s bid.

Warner allegedly agreed to take the $US10 million, which the DOJ calls a bribe, and South Africa won the hosting rights to the 2010 tournament.

Four years after vote, according to the indictment, the South African officials were still unable to make the payment directly from the South African government, so instead $US10 million in FIFA money that was supposed to go to South Africa was allegedly sent to Warner-controlled accounts. It was moved in installments, according to the indictment:

In fact, on January 2, 2008, January 31, 2008 and March 7, 2008, a high-ranking FIFA official caused payments of $US616,000, $US1,600,000, and $US7,784,000 – totaling $US10 million – to be wired from a FIFA account in Switzerland to a Bank of America correspondent account in New York, New York, for credit to accounts held in the names of CFU and CONCACAF, but controlled by the defendant JACK WARNER, at Republic Bank in Trinidad and Tobago.

According to The New York Times, law enforcement believes Valcke was the person who moved the money. Warner allegedly kept a “substantial portion of the funds” for his personal use, according to the indictment.

The South African Football Association said on Monday that the payment wasn’t a bribe.

We reached out to FIFA for comment and will update this post if we hear back.

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