Fifa secretary general Valcke thought to have made Warner payment

Fifa claim Julio Grondona, who died last year aged 82, authorised $10 million transfer

US prosecutors believe Jérôme Valcke authorised the $10 million payment made to Jack Warner. Photograph: Epa

US prosecutors believe Jérôme Valcke authorised the $10 million payment made to Jack Warner. Photograph: Epa

 

US prosecutors investigating Fifa corruption believe Sepp Blatter’s top lieutenant made $10m in bank transactions that are central to the bribery investigation, a source familiar with the matter has said.

Jérôme Valcke, Fifa’s secretary general, emerged in reports as the person described in an indictment filed in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, as a “high-ranking Fifa official” who in 2008 transferred the sum to another Fifa official, Jack Warner.

Valcke is not named as a defendant and has not been accused of any wrongdoing. He was not immediately available for comment. Valcke and Blatter are the top two officials within Fifa.

A spokeswoman for Fifa said the $10m in bank transactions were authorised by the then-chairman of Fifa’s finance committee. That was Julio Grondona, who died in 2014.

Grondona, from Argentina, died last year aged 82 having been a Fifa executive member for 26 years, many of them as chairman of the finance committee. Blatter described him as “a lifelong friend” after his death.

“In 2007, as part of the 2010 Fifa World Cup™, the South African Government approved a USD 10m project to support the African diaspora in Caribbean countries as part of the World Cup legacy,” read a satement from Fifa.

“At the request of the South African Government, and in agreement with the South African Football Association (SAFA), Fifa was asked to process the project’s funding by withholding USD 10m from the Local Organising Committee’s (LOC) operational budget and using that to finance the Diaspora Legacy Programme.

“SAFA instructed Fifa that the Diaspora Legacy Programme should be administered and implemented directly by the President of CONCACAF who at that time was Deputy Chairman of the Finance Committee and who should act as the fiduciary of the Diaspora Legacy Programme Fund of USD 10m.

“The payments totalling USD 10m were authorised by the then chairman of the Finance Committee and executed in accordance with the Organisation Regulations of Fifa. Fifa did not incur any costs as a result of South Africa’s request because the funds belonged to the LOC. Both the LOC and SAFA adhered to the necessary formalities for the budgetary amendment.

“Neither the Secretary General Jérôme Valcke nor any other member of Fifa’s senior management were involved in the initiation, approval and implementation of the above project.”

Second Captains

The naming of Valcke in connection with the case was first reported by the New York Times. The Times said Valcke had written in an email to the newspaper that he had not authorised the payment and did not have the power to do so.

As new questions arose in the Fifa scandal more officials were arrested, suspended or banned on Monday and countries were weighing a World Cup boycott amid controversy over the re-election of Blatter as Fifa president on Friday.

Fifa had earlier announced that Valcke would not attend the opening of the Fifa women’s World Cup in Canada, due to begin on Saturday as previously scheduled.

“It is important that he attends to matters at Fifa’s headquarters in Zurich,” said a Fifa statement.

Warner, a former Fifa vice-president, is among 14 Fifa officials and corporate executives charged by the US justice department with running a criminal enterprise that involved more than $150m in bribes.

Warner left jail in Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday after he was granted bail, according to local media. “Why are there no investigations in Asia, or in Europe?” Warner asked German magazine Stern in an interview released on Monday.

“Why are there no investigations into Sepp Blatter? No other person has brought so much shame and disgrace on Fifa.”

A court transcript released on Monday said Warner’s son, Daryan Warner, secretly agreed in 2013 to cooperate with US authorities and to admit to participating in a World Cup ticket-reselling scheme.

Like his brother Daryll, Daryan had agreed to assist US authorities as part of separate plea deals.

The transcript, ordered released by a federal judge in Brooklyn, New York, contained Daryan Warner’s guilty plea.

The $10m payment is a key feature of the indictment accusing Jack Warner of taking a bribe in exchange for helping South Africa secure the right to host the 2010 World Cup.

The indictment said the high-ranking Fifa official identified on Monday as Valcke caused $10m to be wired to accounts controlled by Warner, and Warner subsequently diverted portions of the money for his personal use and to personal accounts.

In Zurich, Enrique Sanz, the general secretary of Concacaf, the peak body of football in North, Central America and the Caribbean, was suspended, and Congolese Football Association (Fecafoot) officials Jean Guy Blaise Mayolas and Badji Mombo Wantete were provisionally banned by Fifa’s ethics committee.

In Paraguay a judge on Monday ordered house arrest for the former president of South America’s soccer federation, Nicolas Leoz, accused of involvement in the scandal.

England called for a boycott but a senior Uefa official cast doubt on an outright move, while Sweden’s soccer authorities had not ruled out the possibility of a boycott, Swedish FA chairman Karl-Erik Nilsson told Reuters.

Following Blatter’s re-election as Fifa president the English Football Association’s chairman, Greg Dyke, said his organisation would support any boycott led by Uefa, the Union of European Football Associations.

English Football Association board member Heather Rabbatts announced she was withdrawing from Fifa’s task force against racism and discrimination with immediate effect. “Like many in the game I find it unacceptable that so little has been done to reform Fifa,” she said.

(Guardian service)

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.