Current FIFA president Sepp Blatter knew that former FIFA president Joao Havelange and former head of Brazil’s football federation Ricardo Teixeira were paid up to $22 million in bribes by a former FIFA marketing partner, as reported by BBC.”The finding that FIFA had knowledge of the bribery payments to persons within its organs is not questioned. This is firstly because various members of the executive committee had received money,” according to the Swiss prosecutor’s report released Wednesday by FIFA.
Instead of punishing the men – who were bribed by the now-defunct Swiss company ISL – FIFA paid a Swiss court $2.5 million on the condition that all criminal proceedings were dropped.
The prosecutor’s report states that FIFA’s chief financial officer at the time and then-General Secretary Sepp Blatter witnessed a $1 million bribe to Havelange because the payment was accidentally transferred directly into a FIFA account.
Havelange, a 96-year-old Brazilian, was FIFA president for 24 years before Blatter took over in 1998. In December he resigned his 48-year membership to the International Olympic Committee, days before planned sanctions against him for wrongdoing connected to ISL, but remains FIFA’s honorary president.
Blatter, for his part, told FIFA.com that at the time of the bribes “such payments could even be deducted from tax as a business expense” and that he wouldn’t remove Havelange as honorary president because he doesn’t “have the power to call him to account.”
Teixeira, who prosecutors says received at least $13 million in bribes, recently resigned as head of Brazil’s football federation and the 2014 World Cup organising committee in addition to giving up his FIFA executive committee seat, citing unspecified health and personal reasons.
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