Michael Garcia profile: The Fifa investigator into ethics and corruption

  • @kunaldutta

Michael Garcia is a former US attorney who became a household name after leading the successful prosecution against former Democratic Governor Eliot Spitzer, who resigned in 2008 after a high-profile sex scandal.

During that time he also investigated a series of international corruption scandals including Iraq’s Oil-for-Food programme and corruption allegations against the Norwegian oil firm Statoil.

A staunch Republican, he served as a counter-terrorism prosecutor for President George Bush, and steered the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency between 2003 and 2005.

In 2011, he was tipped to lead the Federal Bureau of Investigation, before President Barack Obama extended the term of Robert Mueller.

Last year, Garcia was on a list of Americans banned from entering Russia over alleged human-rights violations. The country’s so-called “Guantanamo List” includes Americans it accuses of being involved in torture, and was a response to the so-called Magnitsky List, released by the US Treasury the day before.

Now offering private services as a partner at the Kirkland & Ellis global law firm, Garcia was appointed by Fifa three years ago to investigate allegations of corruption in world football. Insiders say he has already spent millions of dollars investigating the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments, but has yet to find a “smoking gun” that shows clear evidence of cash transactions. He was due to meet senior officials from the Qatar 2022 organising committee in Oman on Monday. But that meeting is almost certainly likely to be postponed while these latest allegations are investigated.