Fifa confirms Havelange and Teixeira received millions in kickback scam
Former Fifa president Joao Havelange and one-time Brazilian football leader Ricardo Teixeira received millions of pounds in a World Cup kickbacks scandal, football’s world governing body confirmed yesterday.
Fifa finally published a Swiss court dossier which detailed that Teixeira received at least 12.74 million Swiss francs (£8.37m) from 1992-97 in payments from World Cup marketing partner ISL. The Swiss-based agency’s collapse into bankruptcy in 2001 sparked a criminal probe and exposed the routine practice of buying influence from top sports officials.
The 41-page document showed Havelange received a payment of 1.5m Swiss francs (£1m) in 1997, one year before he was succeeded as Fifa president by Sepp Blatter.
Payments “attributed” to accounts connected to the two Brazilians totalled almost 22 million Swiss francs from 1992-2000.
The scale of kickbacks tied to World Cup broadcasting and marketing deals was revealed in a report by a prosecutor in the Swiss canton of Zug who investigated Havelange and Teixeira for “embezzlement, or alternatively disloyal management.”
The document had been blocked from publication since June 2010, soon after prosecutors, Fifa and two of the most powerful men in world football reached a settlement deal to close the criminal investigation.
Fifa, Havelange and Teixeira repaid 5.5 million Swiss francs to end prosecutor Thomas Hildbrand’s probe on condition that their identities remain secret.
Teixeira, who repaid 2.5 million Swiss francs, denied criminal conduct. Havelange, who paid 500,000 Swiss francs, “did not comment on the accusation of criminal conduct,” the report said.
Before agreeing to repay 2.5 million Swiss francs, Fifa made its “consent conditional” upon dropping proceedings against its former president and then-serving member of its executive committee, the report showed.
Fifa released the document hours after Switzerland’s Supreme Court threw out an appeal by Havelange and Teixeira to suppress the dossier, and announced its ruling that media organisations should receive details of the ISL case. “Fifa is pleased that the ISL non-prosecution order can now be made public,” football’s world governing body said in a statement.
Still, Hildbrand’s report criticised Fifa as “a deficient organisation in its enterprise” prior to ISL’s collapse.
Havelange and his former son-in-law Teixeira “unlawfully used assets entrusted to (them) for (their) own enrichment several times. Fifa suffered an equivalent loss.”
After helping broker the anonymity deal, Fifa was also a party to earlier appeals to block publication until dropping out of the case last December.
Blatter, who was Havelange’s secretary general for 17 years, said last October that he wanted to release the ISL dossier despite his organisation seeking to deny reporters access to its contents at the same time.
Though Blatter has not been accused of accepting unethical payments, the ISL affair has clouded much of his 14-year Fifa presidency. Blatter was not specifically named in the redacted document, though he appeared to be represented several times as “P1”.
Hildbrand’s report said it was “not questioned” that Fifa personnel knew about kickback payments. The prosecutor wrote of Fifa witnesses confirming that a 1 million Swiss francs payment to Havelange “was mistakenly transferred to a Fifa account.
“Not only the CFO (chief financial officer) had knowledge of this, but also, among others, P1 would also have known about it,” the report said.
Havelange was Fifa president for 24 years and remains honorary president. The 96-year-old Brazilian has been treated extensively in a Rio de Janeiro hospital this year for a bacterial infection.
He resigned his 48-year IOC membership in December, citing health reasons, days before the Olympic body was due to sanction him following its own investigation into wrongdoing connected to ISL.
Teixeira resigned this year as head of Brazil’s football federation and the 2014 World Cup organising committee, and gave up his Fifa executive committee seat after 18 years, citing unspecified health and personal reasons.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: West