PtG Article 24.06.2010

Prosecutor's office links FIFA officials to bribery scandal

Senior FIFA Officials were centrally involved in the biggest and most spectacular bribery scandal in Olympic history, Swiss prosecutor's office confirms.

In 2008 it was revealed that the ISL/ISMM-group - former marketing partner of FIFA, IOC and many other Olympic world federations (Athletics, Basketball, Swimming, Tennis) - had paid at least 138 million Swiss francs to senior officials to secure broadcasting contracts worth several billion US-Dollars.

For the first time ever, Swiss prosecution authorities from the city of Zug, where the ISL-group was based until its collapse in 2001, have confirmed that FIFA officials have taken bribes.

The prosecution office said in a statement today: "Foreign persons of FIFA-institutions have received provisions from the ISL/ISMM-group." Surprisingly, the word "provisions" is used rather than the more correct term for these dubious transactions: bribes.

FIFA-names remain untold

Some of these FIFA officials, who were bribed with many millions Swiss francs until the year 2000, have now made a deal with the Swiss prosecution authorities.

In the aftermath of the ISL bribery scandal an inquiry was stopped after FIFA officials paid a "compensation payment" of 5.5 million Swiss francs.

The names of the corrupt persons will not be published. All parties - bribe givers, bribe takers, FIFA and the prosecutors - stand united. They are not willing to tell the public:

Who took which amount of bribery payments?Who made which decision after these payments?Who paid the so-called ‘compensation payment’ to the prosecutors office?

And many other questions are left unanswered.

Not the first dubious settlement

This is the second dubious settlement after a mysterious arrangement in 2004.

At this time an ISL liquidator opened civil complaints against some 20 high ranking officials. Following the complaints, an amount of 2.5 million CHF was transferred to the liquidator’s account on behalf of a former ISL manager, Jean-Marie Weber. Weber was the one who paid almost all the bribes and is the only person who knows all names of the bribed officials.

The liquidator withdrew the civil complaints against the sport officials after this transaction. The deal was confirmed by the highest Swiss court in 2005: The names of corrupt persons could be hidden.

Compensation payment

 "In the proceedings the accused have denied criminal responsibility, but not the receiving of the funds", the prosecutor's office claims today. A part of the "compensation payment" of 5.5 millions CHF will be transferred to non-profit organizations. "The defendants have also assumed the costs", the statement reads.

In other words: corrupt sport officials, corrupt FIFA officials, have bought themselves free.

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