Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 22nd 2015 Contents A58
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, October 22, 2015
ZURICH---German football great Franz Beckenbauer
and FIFA vice president Angel Maria Villar have
been investigated by ethics prosecutors and are
awaiting verdicts in their cases, the governing body s
ethics panel said yesterday.
Both Beckenbauer and Villar --- now serving as
FIFA s No 2 official while President Sepp Blatter is
suspended --- have previously been identified by media
as targets of the investigation into the bidding for the
2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Both men face sanctions for obstructing then-FIFA
prosecutor Michael Garcia s investigation, ethics com-
mittee spokesman Marc Tenbuecken said.
With Garcia s inquiry failing to find evidence of
corruption involving Russia and Qatar, it falls to a
criminal investigation of suspected money laundering
led by Switzerland s attorney general to ascertain
whether there was any financial wrongdoing in those
World Cup bidding contests. The Russian and Qatari
awards have been tainted by five years of so-far
The official disclosure yesterday inflicts more damage
on FIFA, which is reeling from waves of corruption
allegations that led the ethics committee two weeks
ago to suspend Blatter and the front-runner to succeed
him as president, Michel Platini.
In a wide-ranging statement, the ethics committee
said it aimed to judge Blatter and Platini during their
Blatter is also under criminal investigation by Swiss
authorities for a suspected "disloyal payment" of
around $2 million from FIFA funds in 2011 to Platini,
who was also questioned. Both deny wrongdoing.
The announcement yesterday comes the day after
the FIFA executive committee agreed to lift strict
secrecy rules it imposed on the ethics committee in
2012, and which prosecutor Cornel Borbely and judge
Joachim Eckert argued were harming their work.
Villar was second-in-command at that executive
session on Tuesday, which also made him interim
head of FIFA s organising committee for the 2018
World Cup in Russia, replacing Platini.
Public naming of the Spanish football federation
president adds to embarrassment for UEFA, where
Villar is the highest ranking elected official after Platini
was suspended by FIFA pending his ethics inquiry.
Beckenbauer and former Spain international Villar
were members of FIFA s much-discredited executive
committee when it chose Russia and Qatar as future
World Cup hosts in December 2010.
Ten of the 24 executive committee members in
2010 have been banned or suspended from duty by
the ethics panel.
Seven more, including Beckenbauer and Villar, have
been investigated by the ethics committee or faced
allegations of wrongdoing in the World Cup bid con-
tests. Interim FIFA President Issa Hayatou denied
allegations by a British Parliamentary committee that
he took a seven-figure bribe to vote for Qatar.
The Russian and Qatari wins --- over losing bidders
including England, Australia and the United States
--- provoked rifts among former allies and intense
scrutiny of allegations of bribery, financial favours
and rules-breaking voting pacts.
Under pressure to investigate the allegations seri-
ously, FIFA appointed former US Attorney Garcia in
July 2012 as its ethics prosecutor.
Garcia delivered his investigation report to Eckert
in September 2014 only after finding trouble dealing
with Beckenbauer and Villar.
Beckenbauer, who captained and coached World
Cup-winning West Germany teams, twice refused to
meet with Garcia and was barred from travelling to
the World Cup in Brazil by a provisional suspension.
It was lifted during the tournament when he sent
answers to Garcia.
Villar, a lawyer who chairs FIFA s legal committee,
tried to have Garcia thrown off the case in March
2014 after the prosecutor came to Zurich
to question FIFA officials.
Before the 2010 vote, FIFA s ethics
committee under different leadership
dismissed claims that Villar and Qatari
official Mohamed bin Hammam were
involved in a vote-trading pact that
broke election rules.
Also, a new case was announced
Wednesday against a FIFA executive
committee member who was barred
from the 2018-2022 vote for seeking
Amos Adamu of Nigeria served a
three-year ban for seeking almost $1
million from undercover reporters
posing as lobbyists. Details of the
latest case against Adamu were not
The statement also confirmed ongo-
ing probes of three officials --- former
FIFA vice presidents Jeffrey Webb and
Eugenio Figueredo, and former exec-
utive committee member Nicolas Leoz
--- who were indicted for bribery by
the US Department of Justice in May.
Longtime Brazilian football leader
Ricardo Teixeira is also under inves-
tigation, the ethics committee con-
Pressure grows to explain
German slush fund report
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