PtG Article 09.12.2005

Former Secretary General launches surprise attack on the FIVB

The Volleygate affair has taken a new and surprising turn. The former Secretary General of the International Volleyball Federation, Jean-Pierre Seppey, has launched a head-on attack on his former employers. He demands damages of 4,8 million Swiss Francs and has published a 22 page document which details mismanagement and abuse of authority at FIVB.

The story has been reported in the German newspaper, Berliner Zeitung, and the Swiss newspaper, Le Matin.

In August 2005, Jean-Pierre Seppey was fired from his job by FIVB President Ruben Acosta and his wife Malou. The reason given was financial misconduct, and the FIVB Secretariat was reorganised in November under the personal authority of Ruben Acosta.

In the interview with Le Matin, Jean-Pierre Seppey says that he believes that the real reason he was fired was because President Acosta was jealous of him and saw him as a potential enemy to take over the post of President of the FIVB. Seppey also believes that after a stroke in 2003, Acosta has lost the ability to direct the organisation and within the last few months 20 employees have left the FIVB headquarters - some voluntarily, others because they were bullied out.

Whatever Acosta's reasons for firing his former Secretary General, Jean-Pierre Seppey will not accept that his image has been "soiled by the despots of the FIVB." He now demands damages of 4,8 million Swiss Francs: 729,000 Francs corresponding to two years of wages, 31,000 Francs for holidays, 500,000 Francs in damages for personal attacks and more than 3,5 million in commissions for obtaining sponsoring and television rights.

In the article in Berliner Zeitung, reporter Jens Weinreich provides highlights from Seppey's 22 pages long attack on Acosta and the FIVB. Seppey claims that

  • In the year 2000 alone, Acosta received 8,32 million Swiss Francs in commissions on television rights
  • Acosta has received more than half a million Swiss Francs annually from FIVB without approval
  • FIVB funds have been spent on expensive gifts for Malou Acosta's mother and sister
  • On Accosta's demand, Seppey has regularly entertained named media representatives and FIVB sponsors in red light districts.

Jean-Pierre Seppey also claims that at one point Ruben Acosta had an affair with a Russian volleyball star which was punished by Malou Acosta. She has no formal position in the FIVB, but nevertheless managed to get the star's Russian team excluded from a Grand Prix tournament.