FIFA to investigate Sepp Blatter and former top officials over payments

Story highlights

Trio accused of breaking ethics rules

Blatter, Valcke already banned by FIFA

Ex-FIFA VP Webb banned and fined

CNN  — 

FIFA’s former president Sepp Blatter faces an investigation into multiple allegations including bribery and corruption, the football governing body’s ethics committee announced Friday.

Proceedings were also opened against FIFA’s ex-secretary general Jerome Valcke, and its former director of finance and corporate services Markus Kattner.

The announcement came on the same day Jeffrey Webb, a former FIFA vice president and president of CONCACAF – the ruling body for North America and the Caribbean soccer – was banned from the sport for life and fined 1 million Swiss francs ($1.02 million).

FIFA’s investigatory chamber said Blatter, Valcke and Kattner had possibly violated rules involving conflicts of interest, offering and accepting gifts and other benefits, loyalty, and general rules of conduct, as well as bribery and corruption, in the context of their salaries and bonuses plus other provisions in their contracts.

It said Kattner was also being investigated for a possible violation of the ethics code involving confidentiality.

CNN is attempting to contact the three former officials for comment.

FIFA lawyers claimed to have uncovered evidence in June suggesting Blatter, Valcke and Kattner had awarded themselves pay raises and bonuses totaling $80 million during their final years in office between 2011 and 2015.

Both Blatter and Valcke are currently banned from world football.

Blatter, who led FIFA for 17 years until he stepped down in 2015, was suspended for six years in February. That punishment marked a two-year reduction on his original ban after being found guilty of breaches over a $2 million “disloyal payment” to former UEFA president Michel Platini.

Valcke, meanwhile, was banned from all football-related activity for 12 years after the ethics committee investigated allegations of misconduct relating to sales of World Cup tickets, television rights and using a private jet for personal reasons.

Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber also opened criminal proceedings against Blatter in September 2015, and against Valcke in March. Neither Valcke nor Blatter has been arrested, and the former’s lawyer has reportedly said his client has done nothing wrong.

Kattner, who is not yet facing any criminal proceedings, was fired in May “for breaches of his fiduciary duties to FIFA.”

In an interview with CNN in April, Blatter denied he ever took any bribes while at FIFA, saying he was forced out of the organization in a “coup d’etat” led by the US, which is carrying out its own investigations into FIFA, and assisted by the Swiss.

“I can understand that the Americans are not always happy with what’s happened somewhere in the world because they try to be the police of the world everywhere,” Blatter said.

“But I couldn’t understand that the Swiss authorities had agreed.”

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Webb banned for life

FIFA’s adjudicatory committee said Friday Webb had broken rules on duty of disclosure, conflicts of interest, and bribery and corruption.

The former Cayman Islands banker was one of several FIFA officials arrested during a now infamous dawn raid on the Hotel Baur au Lac in Zurich, Switzerland, in May 2015.

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He was extradited to the US and subsequently plead guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy, three counts of wire fraud conspiracy and three counts of money laundering conspiracy at a district court in New York in November 2015.