Sepp Blatter and Two Top FIFA Officials Paid Themselves $80 Million, Investigation Reveals

FIFA said an internal investigation revealed that Blatter and two other leading officials were involved in a "coordinated attempt" to enrich themselves.
June 3, 2016, 1:55pm
Photo by Ennio Leanza/EPA

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and two other leading officials were involved in a "coordinated attempt" to enrich themselves through annual salary increases and World Cup bonuses, world soccer's governing body said on Friday.

FIFA said an internal investigation revealed that the three officials had received compensation worth 79 million Swiss francs — equivalent to about $80 million — over five years. It said it had shared the information with the Swiss Attorney General's office and the US Department of Justice and would continue to investigate.


Criminal investigations in the United States and Switzerland have resulted in the indictment of dozens of soccer officials and other entities for corruption, many of them serving or former presidents of national or continental associations.

FIFA has also been forced to investigate controversies surrounding the awarding of its showpiece, the World Cup finals, especially the decision to grant the 2018 tournament to Russia and the 2022 finals to Qatar.

Related: Unremorseful Sepp Blatter Is Sorry He's Still a 'Punching Ball' After Getting Eight-Year Soccer Ban

Swiss authorities are reviewing more than 150 reports of suspicious financial activity linked to those awards.

On Thursday, Swiss authorities searched the headquarters of soccer's governing body as part of the ongoing investigation. The Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) said documents and electronic data were seized during the operation.

The OAG said the investigation concerned people named in previous statements and also unknown suspects in the corruption probe that has engulfed FIFA over the past year.

This week FIFA's ethics committee said there were no formal proceedings against Gianni Infantino, the recently-elected president of soccer's global body, after a German newspaper reported that he was facing a provisional ban for unethical conduct.

The committee would not confirm or deny whether preliminary investigations had taken place.


German newspaper Die Welt said on Thursday that Infantino, elected in February, was facing investigation over possible ethics breaches.

"We are not in a position to indicate if we have or have not preliminary investigatory proceedings against an individual," said the ethics committee's investigatory chamber in a statement to Reuters.

"We would, however, like to point out that there are no formal proceedings going on against Mr. Infantino."

Die Welt said it had seen emails suggesting that Infantino had ordered senior FIFA officials to delete recordings of a controversial meeting of the FIFA Council, formerly the executive committee, before last month's Mexico City Congress.

Related: FIFA Elects Gianni Infantino to Lead It Out of Scandal-Plagued Era

FIFA was swept into new controversy when the Congress in Mexico passed a resolution giving the FIFA Council the power to appoint or dismiss members of its independent watchdog.

This effectively gave the Council, headed by Infantino, the right to fire ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert and ethics investigator Cornel Borbely and the head of the audit and compliance committee, Domenico Scala.

Scala, who had overseen the FIFA reforms, resigned in protest the following day.

Former UEFA general secretary Infantino replaced Blatter in February promising to clean up an organization tainted by years of corruption and scandal.

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