FBI probes Blatter bribe scandal part

The FBI is investigating the part played by Fifa president Sepp Blatter in a $ 100m (£66.2m) bribes scandal, a BBC investigation has found.

Sports advertising company ISL paid a total of $ 100m to officials including former Fifa president Joao Havelange and ex-Fifa executive Ricardo Teixeira.

In return, ISL was granted profitable television and marketing and advertising rights throughout the 1990s.

Blatter denied knowing about the bribes and took no action.

He even permitted Teixeira to take component in the notorious vote for the 2018 and 2022 Planet Cups.

‘Full knowledge’

Panorama reporter Andrew Jennings has seen a letter obtained by America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation which casts doubt on Blatter’s denial.

The letter, apparently written by Havelange, talks about the payments he received from ISL. It says Blatter had “complete understanding of all activities” and was “usually apprised” of them.

The letter is integrated in an FBI request to the Swiss authorities for assist with their investigation. They ask for the file of an earlier Swiss investigation into the ISL bribes and they say “among other issues, the prosecutor is investigating Havelange’s statements implicating Blatter”.

In 2010, Blatter suppressed a Swiss legal obtaining that both Havelange and Teixeria had received bribes from ISL. In 2013, Blatter told a Fifa ethics committee inquiry he was unaware of the bribery. He was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Blatter, who says he will stand down as head of football’s world governing physique in February 2016, declined to respond to any allegations put to him.

The 79-year-old is currently serving a provisional 90-day suspension from Fifa and faces a hearing with the body’s ethics judge in mid-December.

Joao Havelange

Joao Havelange (right) served as Fifa president from 1974 to 1998

Damian Collins MP tells Panorama Blatter’s behaviour was extraordinary. He says: “You have to ask oneself why did he seek to shield these individuals, and not just shield them but permit them to continue to play an active role in some of Fifa’s most crucial choices?”

The programme also reveals new evidence about how significantly income the Qataris spent winning the proper to host the 2022 Planet Cup.

Ongoing investigation

Lord Triesman, a former Football Association chairman, was offered the figure by sources close to British intelligence.

“I was told by two sources that have usually been extremely reputable with great information, good intelligence, that the sum that Qatar had spent on their bid was £117m.”

This is six instances what England spent on its bid for the 2018 World Cup, and virtually 12 occasions the American expenditure on their 2022 bid.

Qatar’s bid chairman did not respond to correspondence from Panorama.

A model of the Al-Wakra football stadium in Qatar

The BBC has been told that Qatar spent £117m on their effective Planet Cup bid

Lord Triesman stated: “I take the simple view that it ought to be possible when you look at the money that people have spent to know specifically how it was spent and no matter whether it was genuine or not.

“In a way the issue is that, goodness knows, it is not transparent enough for any individual to know.”

Last Thursday, US lawyer common Loretta Lynch announced a further 16 Fifa officials and associates have been indicted as portion of the FBI’s ongoing investigation into the organisation.

Gary Lineker, who supported England’s 2018 World Cup bid, tells Panorama: “It makes me really feel nauseous at the levels of corruption in a sport that has been a huge portion of my life and is a enormous part of numerous people’s lives proper around the globe.

“Part of me hopes that with almost everything getting so clearly rotten, we can come out and somehow start off once more and, and correct it. ”

Panorama: Fifa, Sepp Blatter and Me is on BBC A single at 20:30 GMT on Monday, 7 December and offered to watch later by means of BBC iPlayer