Fifa corruption: Blatter may have discussed $10 million world cup 'deal' with South African President, email suggests

An email from Fifa Secretary General Jérôme Valcke suggests that Blatter knew about a $10 million payment from the South African government

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The Independent Online

A newly released email making up part of the growing Fifa scandal suggests that Sepp Blatter, President of Fifa, discussed a $10 million "transfer" with Thabo Mbeki, the then South African President, during the bidding for the 2010 World Cup.

The new development is linked to a 2007 payment of $10 million by the South African government, which was said to be used to fund a legacy program aimed at helping the African diaspora in the Caribbean. The money was paid into accounts controlled to Jack Warner, then Vice President of Fifa and President of CONCACAF, the North American and Caribbean football association.

However, the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has alleged that this constituted a bribe for his support in South Africa's bid to host the 2010 World Cup. The newly-released email suggests that Sepp Blatter may have known about this payment.

The leaked email connected to the payment was sent on 7 December 2007, from Fifa Secretary General Jérôme Valcke to then South African Deputy Minister of Finance Jabu Moleketi. It appears to show Valcke chasing Moleketi over the payment, and suggests that Blatter knew about the deal.

In the email, Valcke writes: "I have never received confirmation but more important I would like to know when the transfer can be done."

He goes on to write: "This is based on discussion between Fifa and the South African government and also between our President and H.E President M'Beki."

 

Valcke's mention of "our President" suggests Blatter may have discussed payments with the then South African President, Thabo Mbeki.

The discovery of the email comes a week after Fifa insisted that neither Jérôme Valcke, nor any other members of Fifa's management, were "involved in the initiation, approval and implementation" of the deal.

The message refers to an earlier letter, which discusses the diaspora legacy programme.

 

Speaking to The Telegraph, a spokeswoman for Fifa said that the messages did not prove that Valcke and Blatter were involved.

She said: "It is simply referring to an update given by the then President of South Africa to the Fifa President about the South African government's formal request."

"That constitutes information, not involvement. As previously stated and confirmed by the South African authorities, this programme was initiated by the South African government for the Caribbean and it was publicly announced by them at the time."

“He was aware of but did not initiate the transfer. The transaction was authorised by the then chairman of the Finance Committee.”

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The million was paid into accounts controlled by Jack Warner, Fifa Vice President and CONCACAF President

Fifa official Chuck Blazer has previously testified in court that bribes to Fifa occured in the course of choosing the host nation for the 2010 World Cup. His admission comes from a newly-released transcription of a 2013 US hearing, where he said that he and others in Fifa's executive committee agreed to accept bribes.

An investigation by the BBC produced evidence that suggests Warner used some of a $10 million payment for personal use, such as in cash withdrawals and personal loans.

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