PtG Article 09.06.2006

FIVB accuses ex-secretary general of embezzlement

The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) rejects all claims for compensation by its former secretary general, Jean-Pierre Seppey. Instead FIVB’s Board of Administration accuses Seppey of having embezzled the federation through a closed-loop system to cover personal expenses.

In December last year, Jean-Pierre Seppey demanded damages of 4,8 million Swiss francs from his former employers, and at the same time published a 22 page document detailing mismanagement and abuse of authority at FIVB.

Now the case has reached a Swiss Tribunal, and according to a press release on FIVB’s website, the FIVB explained to the tribunal that Seppey had abused his position to make the FIVB pay for his personal expenses.

The official press release on the FIVB website is short on details of Seppey’s alleged wrongdoings. But details are provided in abundance on the website of the Asian Volleyball Confederation that is one of FIVB President Ruben Acosta’s staunchest supporters.

Under the heading “FIVB demands Seppey reimburse the money he embezzled”, a press release explains that an external audit revealed a “closed-loop system enabling him [Seppey] to authorise certain expenses, sign the invoices, and order the corresponding payments. Using this system, he engaged in numerous financial dealings unknown to the competent authorities.”

The press release goes on to provide details of what Seppey allegedly used this system for including a string of luxury items, limousine transport and gifts to organisations given in the name of the FIVB to organisations that “generally had nothing to do with the goals of the FIVB and often were not even sports-related.”

Examples include the SwissMuseum of Fashion, the Centre for Military History and Economic Forecasting and various foundations “based in Valais where Jean-Pierre Seppey hails from.”

In May, the FIVB Board of Administration rejected Seppey’s candidature for the presidency of the FIVB and finds the rejection justified in the light of the allegations:

“In the circumstances the FIVB considers it absurd that Mr. Seppey should consider himself a fit and proper person to preside over the world governing body of the most successful Olympic sports of Volleyball and Beach Volleyball, and that he has publicly sought to enlist the support of the IOC in his campaign.”

The FIVB also demands that Seppey reimburses all the money he has spent “without justification.”