Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 8th 2015 Contents A61
Tuesday, December 8, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
GENEVA---Sepp Blatter is at risk again from
the World Cup bribery scandal that tainted
much of his FIFA presidency.
Switzerland s justice ministry confirmed
yesterday that American authorities formally
asked for files in the ISL kickbacks case to aid
their sprawling investigation of alleged rack-
eteering by international football leaders.
The ISL marketing agency was found to have
routinely bribed top sports officials, including
Blatter s predecessor Joao Havelange, before
collapsing into criminal bankruptcy in 2001.
British broadcaster the BBC aired a pro-
gramme yesterday alleging it had seen a letter
obtained by the FBI that was written by Have-
lange and said Blatter had "full knowledge"
of kickback payments in the 1990s. Blatter
was Havelange s general secretary for 17 years
until becoming president in 1998.
Blatter would not comment on the BBC s
claim, his spokesman Klaus Stoehlker said yes-
FIFA said it is cooperating to provide "all
relevant information" to ongoing American
and Swiss investigations, and would not com-
ment on specific allegations.
The ISL case sent FIFA into financial crisis,
then dogged the governing body and Blatter
through a criminal trial of six agency executives
in 2008. A legal fight followed as FIFA tried
to keep sealed the identity of officials named
in a settlement deal to repay bribes.
Two years ago, FIFA finally declared the case
closed after its ethics committee reviewed the
The ethics judgment confirmed three long-
time executive committee members as bribe-
takers: Havelange, who was FIFA president
from 1974-1998, resigned as honorary pres-
ident; his former son-in-law Ricardo Teixeira
of Brazil, who had resigned a year earlier; and
Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay, who resigned as
president of the South American confederation
Crticising Havelange and Teixeira for "moral-
ly and ethically reproachable" conduct, the
ethics ruling of April 2013 also noted that com-
mercial bribery was not illegal in Switzerland
in the 1990s.
And Blatter s behavior over the years did
not amount to "any criminal or ethical mis-
conduct," ethics judge Joachim Eckert wrote.
Blatter had been merely "clumsy," Eckert
said, when in March 1997 he sent back a pay-
ment of 1.5 million Swiss francs (then $1 million)
which arrived at FIFA for Havelange from ISL.
Being cleared of misconduct was a relief to
the FIFA president, FIFA secretary general
Jerome Valcke told the AP days after the ruling
was published. The name ISL that was "tat-
tooed on his forehead" for more than a decade
was washed away from Blatter by the ethics
panel s summary, Valcke said in May 2013 in
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Now, a scandal that is part of FIFA lore has
been revived while Blatter is already suspended
from office. He faces a possible life ban from
Eckert this month in a separate case of alleged
financial wrongdoing with FIFA vice president
Michel Platini that is part of a Swiss criminal
The US Department of Justice has received
the Swiss prosecution files in the ISL criminal
case, the Swiss justice ministry confirmed on
Monday. The request was formally made in
March, the ministry said.
The US Department of Justice had revealed
on May 27 the scale of its case in a stunning
indictment published after seven soccer offi-
cials, including two FIFA vice presidents, were
arrested in early-morning raids in Zurich.
Leoz was among 14 soccer and marketing
officials indicted that day, and Teixeira was
among 16 more indicted last Thursday after
another raid on the luxury Baur au Lac hotel
netted two more FIFA vice presidents.
While Blatter s conduct in the ISL case broke
no Swiss laws, it is unclear if US prosecutors
could seek to show he has passively helped
corruption flourish in a conspiracy spanning
The Eckert ruling of 2013 touched on Blatter s
awareness of corrupt behaviour by others.
"It must be questioned, however," the Ger-
man judge wrote, "whether President Blatter
knew or should have known over the years
before the bankruptcy of ISL that ISL had
made payments (bribes) to other FIFA officials."
Blatter at risk again from
FIFA kickbacks scandal
LAUSANNE---Michel Platini s appeal to tem-
porarily lift a 90-day FIFA ban will be heard
at the Court of Arbitration for Sport today.
CAS says a verdict is expected on Friday "at
If Platini wins, the UEFA president could
attend the 2016 European Championship draw
in Paris on Saturday.
Platini is challenging a FIFA ethics committee
ruling to ban him from duty pending a full inves-
tigation into an allegation of financial wrong-
doing. Platini and Sepp Blatter face life bans
over a $2 million payment approved by the FIFA
president in 2011 for work Platini did more than
nine years earlier.
Both have hearings before the FIFA ethics
committee in Zurich between December 16-18.
Platini gets CAS date to appeal 90-day ban
RIO DE JANEIRO---Marco Polo
del Nero, the embattled president
of the Brazilian football federation,
started his 150-day leave of
absence yesterday to prepare his
defense against wide-ranging cor-
A spokesman for the Brazilian
Football Confederation in Rio de
Janeiro said yesterday that Del Nero
could extend the 150-day leave at
The pressure mounted Sunday
for Del Nero to resign as hundreds
of players from across the country
folded their arms across their chests
in protest, standing motionless for
15 seconds before the final round
of games to end the season.
"Del Nero must go---now," the
player group "Common Sense FC"
said on its Twitter account. "We
want clean elections."
Del Nero was one of 16 football
officials indicted last week by the
US Department of Justice.
Just hours after the indictments
were unsealed, Del Nero announced
he was taking a temporary leave of
absence to arrange his defense on
charges that include racketeering
and money laundering. He selected
CBF vice president Marcus Antonio
Vicente to replace him.
The investigation by American
and Swiss officials has snared the
last three presidents of the CBF, all
of whom have been indicted: Del
Nero and his predecessors Jose
Maria Marin and Ricardo Teixeira.
All three were key organisers of
last year s World Cup in Brazil.
Marin was among the seven foot-
ball leaders arrested in a raid in May
in a Zurich hotel.
Del Nero was in Switzerland at
the time, but left the country almost
immediately to return to Brazil.
American officials will have a dif-
ficult time getting their hands on
Teixeira and Del Nero. While the
US and Brazil have an extradition
treaty dating back to the 1960s,
Brazil has a long history of not
extraditing its own citizens to other
Two week ago Del Nero was
forced to step down from FIFA s
executive committee. CBF vice
president Fernando Sarney was
announced to take his place.
Del Nero is also expected to be
banned for 90 days from all football
activity by the FIFA ethics com-
Brazil s attorney general has said
he may request documents from
American officials, which could be
used to help prosecute Del Nero at
The national senate is also con-
ducting a corruption investigation
again Del Nero, a probe headed by
former Brazil and Barcelona star
Romario, who is now a national
Nero to resign
LIVERPOOL---Romelu Lukaku scored his
50th goal for Everton in his 100th
appearance to give the team a 1-1 draw
against Crystal Palace yesterday in the
Lukaku hit the woodwork twice before
Gerard Deulofeu found him with a low
cross in the 81st minute and the Belgium
striker had a simple tap-in from close
range for his seventh goal in six match-
es.In an entertaining second half, Scott
Dann headed Crystal Palace into the lead
in the 76th minute after poor marking by
Everton from a corner.
Lukaku nearly leveled immediately but
thumped a shot against the crossbar, hav-
ing struck the post with a low effort in
the first half.
Palace is sixth on 23 points from 15
games, with Everton a point back in ninth
1-1 draw against
Everton's Gerard Deulofeu, left, battles with Crystal Palace's Yohan Cabaye and Pape N'Diaye
Souare, right, during the English Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool, England,
yesterday. The match ended in a 1-1 draw. AP PHOTO
Links Archive December 7th 2015 December 9th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page