BERN, Switzerland – As the extradition process for former FIFA vice president and corruption accused Jack Warner remains in limbo, the head of football’s world governing body is under criminal investigation in connection with a TV rights deal that he signed with the Trinidad and Tobago football executive 10 years ago.
FIFA headquarters was raided, the office of president Sepp Blatter searched and data seized today.
And the attorney general subsequently announced that his office had opened criminal proceedings into Blatter, is due to step down from FIFA’s leadership next February, on suspicion of criminal mismanagement or, alternatively, misappropriation.
It is alleged that on September 12, 2005, Blatter signed a contract with the Caribbean Football Union, headed by Warner, which was “unfavorable for FIFA”.
“There is a suspicion that, in the implementation of this agreement, Blatter also violated his fiduciary duties and acted against the interest of FIFA and/or FIFA Marketing & TV AG,” a statement issued by the office of the Swiss attorney general said.
Additionally, Blatter is suspected of a “disloyal payment” of two million Swiss francs (US$2 million) to President of Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Michel Platini, at the expense of FIFA, which was allegedly made for work performed between January 1999 and June 2002. The payment was made in February 2011.
Blatter, 79, was interrogated today, following a meeting of the FIFA Executive Committee.
The attorney general’s statement said Platini was also heard “as a person asked to provide information”.
The development came as Warner appeared in a magistrate’s court in Trinidad on his extradition matter. The case was adjourned until December 2.
Warner, 72, is accused of 29 counts of racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering, bribery during his time in football’s world governing body, FIFA.
It is alleged that he began to leverage his influence and exploit his official positions for personal gain from the early 1990s; accepted a US$10 million bribe from South African officials in return for voting to award them the 2010 World Cup; and bribed officials with envelopes each containing US$40,000 in cash.
He and 13 other current or former FIFA officials were indicted in May.