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FBI investigating secret payments to FIFA whistleblower

August 14, 2011 - London

A man credited with blowing the whistle on bribery and corruption in FIFA is now himself the subject of a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) inquiry.

US investigators are examining documents appearing to show confidential payments to offshore accounts operated by an American FIFA official, Chuck Blazer, The Independent reports.

Blazer had sparked an investigation into allegations of bribery in the FIFA presidential election two months ago by claiming that his long-term ally, Jack Warner, was involved in a plot to hand a million dollar in cash to Caribbean officials to vote for Qatar's Mohamed bin Hammam, who was running against the sitting president, Sepp Blatter.

The subsequent scandal shook world football's governing body. A leaked internal report revealed Fifa investigators believed there was "compelling" evidence of a bribery conspiracy between Warner and Bin Hamman.

Reports suggest that now the spotlight has turned to payments to accounts controlled by Blazer in the Cayman Islands and Bahamas. The FIFA official is contracted to work for Concacaf, the regional football association for North and Central America and the Caribbean, but FBI officers are examining evidence that payments have come from the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), a separate regional football body, tightly controlled by Warner.

The most recent payment of 250,000 dollars was last March -before Blazer's allegations. He deposited the cheque in a Bahamas account and initially claimed it was "repayment of a personal loan" he had made to Warner. He now claims Warner may have misused the CFU account and says he is prepared to repay the money if that is the case.

In September last year, Warner approved another CFU payment of 205,000 dollars to a private company operated by Blazer from Cayman. It is also alleged that another payment of 57,750 dollar went from the CFU to Blazer's Cayman account, the paper said.

Blazer denies any impropriety, saying: "All of my transactions have been legally and properly done, in compliance with the various laws of the applicable jurisdictions based on the nature of the transaction."


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