Swiss court: Former FIFA president Havelange took $1.5M in bribes

Former FIFA president Joao Havelange was also member of the IOC for 48 years.

Story highlights

  • Swiss court details bribes paid to Joao Havelange by marketing company
  • Former FIFA president took over $1.5 million, documents reveal
  • His former son-in-law Ricard Teixeira also pocketed over $12 million
  • FIFA paid compensation in 2010 over collapse of ISL

Former FIFA president Joao Havelange and fellow Brazilian sports chief Ricardo Teixeira pocketed millions of dollars in bribes from a collapsed marketing company, documents released by a Swiss court Wednesday revealed.

Havelange received at least 1.5 million Swiss francs ($1.53 million) while Teixeira, who was at one time his son-in-law, was paid at least CHF 12.4 million ($12.64 million).

The backhanders, made by International Sport and Leisure (ISL), were detailed in a judgment by Switzerland's supreme court, which was also published on the official FIFA website.

ISL, a former official marketing partner for FIFA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), was made bankrupt in 2001 with estimated debts of around $300 million, but the fallout from that collapse has reverberated around the world of sport.

Havelange, who is now 96, stepped down as president of football's world governing body in 1998 after 24 years at the helm, but is still an honorary FIFA president.

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He resigned as a member of the IOC last December, citing ill health, just a few days before it was due to sanction him after a probe by its own ethics committee into payments by ISL to leading officials.

IOC sanctions two leading sports officials over ISL link

Teixeira was forced to quit his position on FIFA's executive committee and stand down as head of Brazil's 2014 World Cup organizing committee earlier this year when it became clear the report would be published.

Both had tried to block its publication in the Swiss courts.

FIFA said Wednesday it was "pleased" the documents had been made public and on its website highlighted the fact Havelange and Teixeira had been named while its current president, Sepp Blatter, was not.

"The decision of the Swiss Federal Court also confirms that only two foreign officials will be named as part of the process and that, as previously communicated by the Prosecutor of Zug in June 2010, the FIFA President is not involved in the case ('no Swiss person involved')," read FIFA's statement.

The court documents reveal that Teixeira had paid CHF 2.5 million ($2.55 million) and Havelange CHF 500,000 ($510,000) in compensation.

FIFA was accused by the court of having a "deficient organization" and was being investigated for "disloyal management."

It was also stated FIFA had paid CHF 2.5 million ($2.55 million) in compensation -- but only agreed to the conditions if criminal actions against Havelange and Teixeira were dropped.

Havelange played a key role in bringing the 2016 Olympics to Rio de Janeiro when the South American city was awarded the Games in 2009.

He became an IOC member in 1963 and was FIFA president between 1974 and 1998 until Blatter, his longtime secretary general, took charge.

Havelange spent two months in hospital earlier this year with a heart problem and infected ankle, but he once famously invited IOC members to his 100th birthday party on Copacabana beach in 2016 should Rio get the Games.

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