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Thursday, June 4, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
NEW YORK---Former Fifa executive com-
mittee member Chuck Blazer, once former
Fifa vice-president and Concacaf president
Jack Warner s right-hand man, told a US
federal judge that he and others on the
governing body s ruling panel agreed to
receive bribes in the voting for the hosts
of the 1998 and 2010 World Cups.
Prosecutors unsealed a 40-page transcript
yesterday of the hearing in US District Court
on November 25, 2013, when Blazer pleaded
guilty to racketeering and other charges.
Blazer, in admitting ten counts of illegal
conduct, told the court of his conduct sur-
rounding the vote that made South Africa
the first nation on that continent to host
football s premier event.
"Beginning in or around 2004 and con-
tinuing through 2011, I and others on the
Fifa executive committee agreed to accept
bribes in conjunction with the selection of
South Africa as the host nation for the 2010
World Cup," Blazer told US District Judge
Raymond J Dearie.
Blazer was the number two official of
football s North and Central American and
Caribbean (Concacaf) region from 1990 to
2011 and served on Fifa s executive committee
from 1997 to 2013. South Africa defeated
Morocco 14-10 in the host vote.
South African Football Association pres-
ident Molefi Oliphant sent a letter to Fifa
secretary general Jerome Valcke in 2008 ask-
ing Fifa to withhold US$10 million from the
budget of the 2010 World Cup organisers
and to use the money to finance a "Diaspora
Legacy Programme" under the control of
then Concacaf president Warner.
South Africa Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula
denies the money was a bribe and says it
was an "aboveboard payment" to help foot-
ball development in the Caribbean region.
Blazer also said he was involved in bribes
around 1992 in the vote for the 1998 World
Cup host, won by France over Morocco 12-
7. Warner was among 14 football officials
and businessmen named in an indictment
announced last week, and those charges said
a Moroccan bid representative offered a US$1
million bid payment. Blazer, whose guilty
plea was made public last week, said he
agreed with others "to facilitate the accept-
ance of a bribe."
He also admitted to corruption involving
the Concacaf Gold Cup, the region s top
national team tournament which he helped
launch in 1991.
"Beginning in or about 1993 and contin-
uing through the early 2000s, I and others
agreed to accept bribes and kickbacks in
conjunction with the broadcast and other
rights to the 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 and
2003 Gold Cups," Blazer said.
While many of the allegations were made
public last week, the transcript of the closed-
court hearing in Brooklyn more than one
and a half years ago put them in the first-
person voice of Blazer, once the most pow-
erful football official in the United States.
Blazer s allegations have assisted an inves-
tigation by US prosecutors, who foresee
additional people being charged.
Fifa president Sepp Blatter, who has run
the governing body since 1998, said Tuesday
he would be resigning, an announcement
made six days after the indictments were
unsealed and four days after he was elected
to a fifth term. A new president will be cho-
sen by Fifa s 209 member nations and ter-
ritories, likely between December and March.
Now 70, Blazer was wheelchair-bound at
the hearing, according to Dearie. Blazer told
the court he had received chemotherapy and
radiation for rectal cancer, and he also suf-
fered from diabetes and coronary artery dis-
Dearie said prosecutors "identify Fifa and its atten-
dant or related constituent organisation as what we
call an enterprise, a RICO enterprise."
"RICO is an acronym for, and don t overreact to
this as I am sure most people do, Racketeering-Influ-
enced Corrupt Organisation," the judge said.
Blazer forfeited over $1.9 million at the time of his
pleas to racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy,
money laundering conspiracy, income tax evasion
and failure to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial
Accounts. He agreed to pay a second amount to be
determined at the time of sentencing.
Four sections of the transcript were redacted by
prosecutors, presumably to protect avenues of their
Football execs took World Cup bribes says Blazer
Interpol has issued a red flag,
or "wanted," notice for former
Fifa vice-president Jack Warner,
government spokesman Andrew
Johnson confirmed yesterday.
Johnson addressed the issue at
a media briefing yesterday where
Government emphasised it had
nothing to do with the US Justice
Department s indictment of Warn-
er.According to international
reports, Interpol---the international
policing organisation---issued the
"red notices" or international
wanted persons alert for six men
with ties to Fifa, including Warner
and Nicolás Leoz, as well as four
sports marketing executives for
charges including racketeering
conspiracy and corruption.
In all, 14 current and former
Fifa officials and other corporate
executives were charged by the
US Department of Justice last
week, with American and Swiss
authorities making seven arrests
following a dawn raid in Zurich
Warner is out on $2.5 million
bail after appearing in court on
the charges last week, while Leoz,
of Paraguay, is under house arrest
in his country after also appearing
An Interpol statement con-
firmed the red notices were issued
on the request of US authorities.
The Interpol "red notice" means
the accused risk arrest anywhere
In distancing Government from
the US moves yesterday, Johnson
said Warner was seeking to make
a link but there was none.
On Warner s claim that the
Prime Minister "was trying to put
him in jail," Johnson said, "Noth-
ing is further from the truth. At
no stage of the game did the polit-
ical administration have anything
to do with this matter; that would
be inappropriate and irregular.
"It s patently false to make a
link between what has occurred
with him and the Government...it
has nothing to do with proximity
to elections or his estrangement
from the Government. The indict-
ment is based on the US author-
ities investigations...the people
at the centre of this are the US
authorities and the US Attorney
He said Warner s extradition
issue was the result of the treaties
on such issues between the US
and T&T and Warner was not
being treated differently from any-
one else. He noted that five other
T&T citizens had been extradited
to the US in recent months. He
said Warner was held in high
regard by a lot of people and "no
one took pleasure or pride in what
was occurring with him."
On Warner s claims that he d
already been "jailed," Johnson said
that was true when one was sen-
tenced but Warner had spent one
night in detention due to bail
issues only. Johnson said Warner s
charges were not a "gift" for Gov-
ernment and he couldn t say how
the situation would play out in
election platform statements.
He said it was expected Warner
might challenge the extradition
Jack on Interpol wanted list
...Govt again denies hand in Fifa charges
This screenshot of Interpol's website shows undated portraits of, from top row left to right, Jack Warner, Nicolas
Leoz, Alejandro Burzaco, Hugo Jinkis, Mariano Jinkis and Jose Margulies. Interpol added the men to its most
wanted list yesterday, issuing an international alert in the ongoing Fifa corruption probe. The Interpol "red notice"
means they risk arrest anywhere they travel. (INTERPOL VIA AP)
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