FIFA presidential candidate Chung Mong-joon faces suspension

    Story highlights

    • FIFA presidential candidate Chung Mong-joon faces ethics charges
    • South Korean Chung denies any wrongdoing
    • Football's world governing body is mired in scandal and several key figures are under investigation

    Seoul, South Korea (CNN)The South Korean billionaire and FIFA presidential candidate Chung Mong-joon faces suspension on several charges relating to violations of the organization's code of ethics, the candidate told the South Korean press Tuesday.

    The charges relate to the bidding process for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2022 tournament in Qatar.
      Chung, a former FIFA vice president, vociferously denies any wrongdoing and attacked his colleagues for leaks that he says are designed to hurt his candidacy.
      "I am now under scrutiny by the Ethics Committee for letters I sent to my fellow Executive Committee members explaining a proposal by the Korean Bidding Committee to launch a 'Global Football Fund,' which according to the Ethics Committee 'appeared' improper," he told reporters Tuesday.

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      South Korea put in a bid for the 2022 World Cup, which was ultimately awarded to Qatar. The suspension rests on, Chung says, his support for his own country's bid and, as part of this, the creation of a "Global Football Fund (GFF)," which the Ethics Committee deems improper.
      "There was nothing unusual about (the) GFF. The GFF was perfectly in line with the football development projects that FIFA asked every bidding country to propose as part of their bid requirement."
      He insists "no money or personal favors were exchanged in relation to the GFF."
      Chung says that his support for South Korea's bid is "not only a time-honored tradition at FIFA, but also a natural, patriotic thing to do."
      The Qatar bid, along with the 2018 winning bid from Russia, have been strained by allegations of fraud and impropriety, but as yet FIFA has said there are no grounds to strip hosting rights from either Qatar or Russia. Both editions of FIFA's quadrennial flagship tournament were awarded in 2010.

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      Chung, who owns a controlling stake in the Hyundai Group, one of South Korea's largest conglomerates, says the news of his possible suspension was "maliciously leaked through the media by FIFA insiders," and alleges that the investigation that could lead to his removal was politically motivated.
      "From the beginning, it was clear that the Ethics Committee was undertaking this so-called 'investigation' to prevent me from running for president of FIFA."
      He took a swipe at his FIFA establishment colleagues for the alleged leaks to the press, saying they originated from "highly-placed FIFA executive committee and ethics committee sources."
      "Can you guess who these highly-placed FIFA executives might be? I'll leave it to you to decide," he said, alluding to FIFA President Sepp Blatter and his supporters.
      "People say that FIFA's Ethics Committee is Mr. Blatter's 'hitman.' They never hit him but only those who challenge Mr. Blatter."
      In a statement sent to CNN, FIFA's Ethics Committee said it would be conducting a "fair and due process."
      "As far as I am informed, the only party commenting on an alleged investigation by the independent Ethics Committee was Mr. Chung himself. Please see the attached media statements of his office," said the statement from a spokesperson of the Independent Adjudicatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee.
      "Hence, I leave it up to you to decide whether such a behavior is in line with Article 36 of the Code of Ethics. Despite this, I can ensure you that the Ethics Committee will treat every person equal, regardless of his or her office or standing."

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      Blatter is also currently under investigation -- in his case, however, it is the Swiss attorney general who is leading the probe. Blatter insists he has done "nothing illegal." A 2013 internal investigation cleared him of any misconduct.
      His deputy, General Secretary Jerome Vackle, was suspended in September amid a ticket reselling scandal.
      The organization has been mired in allegations of corruption and wrongdoing ever since its World Congress in May, when several key figures were arrested following investigations by the Swiss authorities and the BFI.
      Another former FIFA executive committee member, Jack Warner, was banned for life in September for committing "many and various acts of misconduct."
      Blatter's predecessor, Joao Havelange, resigned as honorary president in 2003 following the publication of an Ethics Committee report confirming his complicity in a $100 million bribery scandal.
      Chung alleges that, when he advocated transparency soon after joining FIFA, the Brazilian, who presided over FIFA for more than two decades, was incensed that he had broached the subject of corruption within the organization in a speech.
      Chung maintains his innocence and says he is dedicated to fighting graft within football's governing body.
      "I am proud that for 17 years as vice-president of FIFA, I have taken the higher road and never shied away from speaking out against the corruption within FIFA," he said Thursday.