PtG Article 20.11.2006

FIVB congress spent hours on attacking former secretary general

A big part of the congress of the international volleyball federation (FIVB) was dedicated to an attack on FIVB’s former secretary general Jean-Pierre Seppey who served Acosta in the period 2001-2005 but now is appointed by the opposition group to spearhead its work.

The FIVB has produced a report alleging that Seppey spent 4.5 million Swiss Franc (2.9 million Euro) without authorisation. According to the report, the money was spent on donations to member federations, gifts to partners and personal expenses.

The report has apparently been audited by Ernst & Young, but the delegates in Tokyo were not allowed to get a copy for further analysis.

“There was indeed some whispering in the corridors that Seppey may just have followed an example,” a delegate says referring to the spending by president Acosta himself.

The whispering is supported by a letter sent to Jean-Pierre Seppey on 5 October by  François Guédon whose company has made the accounts for FIVB since 1984.

The accountant states that Ruben Acosta has had access to information about all Seppey’s spending since 2001 and could ask all the questions he wanted to.

The mismanagement charges regarding “some tens of thousands Swiss Francs” that Seppey spent every year as representation costs is compared by Guédon with the 40,000 Swiss Franc that Acosta granted him self in advance every month – in addition to first class air tickets for himself and his wife.

The battle over the spending will continue in the Swiss court rooms. The FIVB has sued Seppey in order to get money back, and Seppey is suing the FIVB for contract commissions that he says never were paid out to him. Also, the volleyball opposition will take Ruben Acosta to court for tax evasion, since he allegedly never paid any tax of the millions he has earned. Acosta claims that the tax has been paid in his homeland Mexico.

In spite of the suspicion that Seppey never used money without Acosta’s knowledge, our sources assess that the attacks on Seppey and from him has weakened the opposition group and the desire to join the new organisation FIABVB (link disabled).

“There was a feeling that Mr. Seppey had not handled this in the best way,” a delegate says.

Jean-Pierre Seppey tells Play the Game that neither he nor his lawyers have seen a copy of the FIVB report and he strongly denies the allegations.

“I was managing more than 60 million Swiss Francs per year since 2001. All the accounts have been audited by the external auditors and approved by the FIVB Board of Administration,” he says.

Seppey says that many delegates to the FIVB congress later told him they felt it was unacceptable to spend a full day on attacking a man who was not able to defend himself.