It ain’t over til the corrupt bastards are locked up, but this is progress.

By Tony Attwood

In my original article on the change in the Swiss law which has allowed the Fifa arrests to happen today I made the point that this could result in arrests at the next Swiss conference of Fifa.  And so it proved to be.  Although some correspondents have pointed out quite rightly that others have followed this story, I am not sure many or any of them suggested that following that December law change the next big Fifa conflab would be targeted by the FBI.  So I’m still feeling chuffed at having thought of that as a possibility.  If Fifa had done what I had jokingly suggested and followed the IOC in moving their conferences to places with no extradition treaty, they would still be safe.

It’s a good job they don’t read Untold.

So what is the latest?

The Swiss Federal Office of Justice has blocked bank accounts in Switzerland through which bribes are claimed to have flowed, which is going to slow down Fifa a bit.

And a search warrant has been issued for CONCACAF headquarters on Miami Beach, and pictures suggest the Federal agents are already in there, doing their stuff.

And here’s a good one: they’ve gone after Jeffrey Webb, who is the head of Fifa’s internal audit committee.

Overall nine Fifa officials and five corporate executives have been indicted for racketeering,  money laundering, conspiracy and corruption, including the two current Fifa vice presidents and the current and former presidents of Concacaf.
And it turns out four individual defendants and two corporate defendants have already pleaded guilty.
In passing I wonder if any of those people who wrote into Untold, highly critical of Anne’s earlier work here on money laundering, are still reading?  Looks like we were heading in the right direction.
The defendants also include U.S. and South American sports marketing executives who are alleged to have systematically paid and agreed to pay well over $150 million in bribes and kickbacks to obtain lucrative media and marketing rights to international soccer tournaments.
A lot of this circles around Chuck Blazer who was suspended in May 2013 amid allegations that he removed over $20m from Concacaf.   The New York Daily News broke the story in November 2014 saying that Blazer had secretly recorded Fifa executives for US investigators.

“The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States,” said Attorney General Lynch.  “It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.  And it has profoundly harmed a multitude of victims, from the youth leagues and developing countries that should benefit from the revenue generated by the commercial rights these organizations hold, to the fans at home and throughout the world whose support for the game makes those rights valuable.  Today’s action makes clear that this Department of Justice intends to end any such corrupt practices, to root out misconduct, and to bring wrongdoers to justice – and we look forward to continuing to work with other countries in this effort.”

Acting U.S. Attorney Currie added, “Let me be clear: this indictment is not the final chapter in our investigation.”

All told, the officials are charged with conspiring to solicit and receive well over $150 million in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for their official support of the sports marketing executives who agreed to make the unlawful payments.

As set forth in the indictment, the defendants and their co-conspirators fall into three categories: soccer officials acting in a fiduciary capacity within Fifa and one or more of its constituent organizations; sports media and marketing company executives; and businessmen, bankers and other intermediaries who laundered illicit payments.

The people who pleaded guilty…

Daryll Warner, son of defendant Jack Warner and a former Fifa development officer, waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a two-count information charging him with wire fraud and the structuring of financial transactions.

He also pleaded guilty to a three-count information charging him with wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and the structuring of financial transactions.  Daryan Warner forfeited over $1.1 million around the time of his plea and has agreed to pay a second forfeiture money judgement at the time of sentencing.

Charles Blazer, pleaded guilty to a 10-count information charging him with racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, income tax evasion and failure to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts.  Blazer forfeited over $1.9 million at the time of his plea and has agreed to pay a second amount to be determined at the time of sentencing.

José Hawilla, the owner and founder of the Traffic Group, the Brazilian sports marketing conglomerate, pleaded guilty to a four-count information charging him with racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and obstruction of justice.  Hawilla also agreed to forfeit over $151 million, $25 million of which was paid at the time of his plea.

Traffic Sports USA Inc. and Traffic Sports International Inc. pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy.

The indicted and convicted individual defendants face maximum terms of imprisonment of 20 years for the RICO conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering conspiracy, money laundering and obstruction of justice charges.

In addition, Eugenio Figueredo faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years for a charge of naturalization fraud and could have his U.S. citizenship revoked.  He also faces a maximum term of incarceration of five years for each tax charge.

Chuck Blazer faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years for the FBAR charge and five years for the tax evasion charges; and Daryan and Daryll Warner face maximum terms of incarceration of 10 years for structuring financial transactions to evade currency reporting requirements.  Each individual defendant also faces mandatory restitution, forfeiture and a fine.  By the terms of their plea agreements, the corporate defendants face fines of $500,000 and one year of probation.

Untold Arsenal.


37 Replies to “It ain’t over til the corrupt bastards are locked up, but this is progress.”

  1. Again, well done Tony for keeping FIFA corruption in the limelight over quite a period of time.

    The second investigation you noted – re $150m in bribes and kickbacks for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups has now hit the global headlines. Further, this is reported not to be the end of the investigation!!

  2. I couldn’t hold in my laughter when the news mentioned Jeffrey Webb was head of the Cayman Islands FA and a Cayman Islands banker (as well as the other positions he holds of course).

  3. @Goonermikey

    Even a little pebble causes waves. Methinks that this is not the end of the indictments.

  4. A very nasty and smelly can of worms have been opened and this is just the beginning. By the time the conference ends, more than half the FIFA exec will be behind bars. The foot soldiers are already been pulled in. Remaining the biggest monster of them all. I hope he has no arrest immunity.

    Thanks Tony for the job so far and keep updating us.

  5. A very nasty and smelly can of worms has been opened and this is just the beginning. By the time the conference ends, more than half the FIFA exec will be behind bars. The foot soldiers are already been pulled in. Remaining the biggest monster of them all. I hope he has no arrest immunity.

    Thanks Tony for the job so far and keep updating us.

  6. Hahaha I wonder which will be the first sponsors to pull the plug on this toxic bunch

  7. the first time in my life people outside of fifa have investigated them and what do you know? they find decades worth of corruption that somehow fifa missed with all their internal ‘investigations’

    just listened to lynch speak, it was refreshing because for once it was legal jargon not political fapping…in regards to fifa’s corruption.

    surely blatter cannot possibly come out of this unscathed. even if he is not directly involved in anything illegal surely he has to step down considering this corrupt culture has developed and grown under his watch. (which he probably got in a ‘gift basket’)

  8. This is going to be one hell of a ride.

    FIFA is an organised crime syndicate with links to major players like the Mafia. Ricardo Teixera and Jose Havelange were all connected to South American gangsters.The ‘Bagman’ Jean-Marie Weber distributed $100 million in bribes to FIFA officials with his close associate, Sepp Blatter. There were huge kickbacks from contracts, bribes and ticket scams, this was organised corruption on a huge scale. Do not for one minute think this all happened behind Blatters back. For years FIFA was able to get away with scandal after scandal, ask yourselves why? The answer is not pleasant.

    This is going to implicate a lot of people and some huge Companies. There will be some shocks in store, mark my words.

    Football was merely the vehicle for this crime syndicate.

    My own feeling is that FIFA has to be completely shut down, the corruption is too ingrained. Get rid of FIFA. Wipe the slate clean.Find new locations for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. (Read ‘The Ugly Game – The Qatari Plot to Buy the World Cup By Heidi Blake and Jonathan Calvert and find out how Qatar worked their magic for a Summer World Cup in Qatar)

    If you want a good read about how FIFA are really an organised crime syndicate, read OMERTA by Andrew Jennings – it is a real eye opener and leaves you wondering why nothing was done sooner.

  9. One of the Canadian TV networks is running a story about Canadian Soccer Association connections to FIFA people charged. To me, the article tries to make it sound like Jack Warner (from Trinidad) “is not that kind of boy”.

    And Shawcross is a boy scout.

  10. Just some more window dressing, no sponsor would be stupid enough to pull out of such a lucrative affair, mafia, politics, sports & economics go together like a hand in a glove. If you were to actually go for Sepp Blatter, how many politicians would go down with him, ain’t gonna happen just some more window dressing.

  11. Keep after ’em Tony! All this and an election today. But we know the result. Stinks from top to bottom.

  12. Wow you guys are beasts. Impressive!! This is actually one of the best Football websites around now not just for Arsenal fans. Good work

  13. Andrew Jennings is one of my heroes. His books are superb. At last the investigation is beginning. The corruption goes very deep. I hope UEFA make a stand and not just leave it all to the US and the Swiss. Will we have to endure Blatter claiming he’d no idea what was happening?

  14. hahahaha, corruption in FIFA, corruption in Governments!!!

    Media frenzy on this story, hardly a whimper reported on the FA blowing sport England’s money towards grass roots.

  15. Suddenly I see my nickname popping up everywhere. I wonder why ? But thanks ! I hope to see a summer without too much transfer speculation, and more speeches like the one Loretta Lynch gave.
    Europe should be ashamed though. It should have been us, not the FBI.

  16. dan

    “Media frenzy on this story, hardly a whimper reported on the FA blowing sport England’s money towards grass roots.”

    I know. When I heard a whisper this was all kicking off I thought I’d brave TalkSport to see what was going on, it was after all only Hawksby and Jacobs, and as odious as they are they can be bearable when not talking about us.

    Anyway, I digress.

    2 or 3 times they mentioned the ‘disgraceful way money destined for grass roots football has been frittered away’

    -Not a hint of irony.

    -Not a mention of The FA’s disgraceful use of that Sport England money given to them for grass roots football.

    Are these people so blind they cant see what’s going on under there very nose, or do they just chose not to see it?

    With the corruption, bias, and plain old cheating that occurs on our own doorstep, I found the righteous indignation of all the talking heads on Talksport sickening to be honest.

  17. A momentous day, a long way to go, but still a good day. A bunch of corrupt parasites, if found guilty as indicted are going to be shitting themselves at what awaits them…..a nice twenty year sentence in a NY pen, having to name names and this putting themselves at serious risk.
    I am glad it is the U.S. Feds that are after them, not some hand wringing Northern European country with full prisons, vested interests, a country that has sucked up to these parasites before, not a country that at best has mild distaste for avoiders, evaders and launderers, and at worst, quite admires and encourages them. Yes I know the U.S. can be some of these things and more, but I believe their tenacity when they are out to get someone and punishment system will outdo anything on offer in the UK, France or Germany for starters. Some of these investigators would have worked with Garcia, some of this could be personal.
    Blatter has escaped for now, but he and the crook before him led to an environment where cheating and corruption was tolerated, we see the results of this in our own league and in Europe.
    The English….or was it the Chinese gave the world the game. Other nations took it to new levels. The U.S. may, whatever their motives may be, have started the process whereby the game is given back to the world.
    My message to FIFA, sleep well , and think of that cell in NY and imagine your new cell mates!

  18. Sorry to be boring, but I’m with Mr Wenger on this one. Nobody’s guilty until they’ve been proven guilty. Trial by media is not my thing.

    Secondly, why is the FBI involved? Is it in there to defend the interests of rich Americans and their allies and to do down their competitors?

    There’s more to this than meets the eye.

    Lastly, Britain is not pure in the field of bribery. I seem to remember Jack Warner giving back some expensive handbags a few years ago that he and his group had been given as an incentive to cast their votes our way. Sounds petty possibly, but that’s just the bit that was revealed in the press.

  19. Pat, you are right on several counts. Innocent until proven guilty, but they claim they have evidence of unauthorised payments wired in U.S. Dollars, in a world a while ago when you could get away with such things. They have a terminally ill Chuck Blazer singing like the proverbial Canary to avoid whatever fate the U.S. Justice system could hand him, a guy who reportedly had an apartment in Trump Towers for his cats., he talked, they may soon have more doing the same.
    The FBI, if one of these agencies is based in Maimi, transactions allegedly in U.S. Dollars through US banks. The press conference said today US nationals and U.S. Concerns were involved in this
    Britain and our FA , agree, have sucked up to people who may or may not be found to be criminals. If this is the case our FA should be disbanded and reformed.
    If these charges stick, the European administrations will look at best ineffective, at worst complicit. If they don’t stick, the Feds will not look good, but knowinfg FIFA is rotten to the core, from the amount of people banned, the lack of transparency, the refusal to publish Garcias report in full, the decision to hold a WC in a rich nation with no football history, no suitably stadia, a nation where construction workers are dying by the week, and where the tournament has to be moved to winter to protect players, well after the vote was cast, I know where my money is going. Early days……but a damning indictment of the FA, UEFA, and other administrators in various countries of it has taken the Feds to step in and safe football from itself.

  20. I don’t care why they started the investigation. I’m just happy someone finally did do what had to be done.
    Look at what some investigating journalists have written over the past years.
    I couldn’t give a f*ck even it would have been the Police from Mars or Pluto who started the investigation.

  21. Any chance the US or Swiss authorities will launch an investigation into PGMOB as to why they gave us Antony Taylor 17 times last season ?

  22. Pat
    Good for the USA and FBI for doing something nobody else has the balls to do
    Much of this occured in the USA and the use of U.S. banking and one ex very high ranking FIFA executive was massively involved in the corruption

  23. Will wait the day when the fat guys sings or croaks . Or oinks ; or chirps , or bellows ,or whistles blows .
    Maybe even de-nighs it all ! Sorry just horsing around !

  24. Tony,
    Do not hide your light under a bushel.
    Untold played its part in bringing down FIFA’s corrupt edifice. Blatter’s days are numbered and he would be well advised to fall on his sword before the executioner’s axe is wielded. 😉

  25. Nicky
    The Telegraph, Guardian, Omertà, Untold and other outlets & forums all played a part in agitating & keeping the public informed, but I doubt that any influenced The FBI’s investigation which has been relentless and quite public.

  26. Clearly the Americans still have no idea what has been going on … FIFA, an organised crime organisation ??? Criminal, clearly … but organised ??? 😉

  27. Those FIFA motherfuckers are in big trouble. Let me tell you from what I know about the American law enforcement and judicial system. I gotta friend who was a New York City policemen for over 20 years, Many years back he told me that if I was to ever get into trouble that I better hope it was with local police. He said that the Federal police which is called the FBI over here has unlimited money and manpower. They will spend years to built a case whereas local cops won’t because of financial and manpower restrictions. The federal courts here in the U.S.A. are a lot more harsh in sentencing than local and state courts, Also federal courts have about a 98.9 conviction rate so they hardly ever lose a case. Those FIFA motherfuckers should just bend over and kiss their asses goodbye. This is not gonna go away and little white envelopes filled with pictures of dead presidents ain’t gonna work for those fucking scumbags this time. Now if only you motherfuckers over there could do the same thing, Round up those F.A. and PGMOL corrupt scumbags and have them standing in the dock like war criminals at Nuremberg. Hang Riley, Ferguson, and those other cheating F.A motherfuckers so high in the tower of London and let the crows peck their beady fucking eyeballs out.

  28. When will the spineless sponsors of fifa finally stand up and tell blatter that these happened under his ‘watch’. He’s either involved or incompetent (probably both) so either he goes or they walk away from sponsoring events.
    I’m not sure of all the sponsors but next year when I look for a new car I will not be looking at a Hyundai if they don’t do something about blatter. Similarly, I rarely have a mcdonalds but in future I’ll make the effort to use one of their rivals when I want a bit of tasteless burger in a bun etc.

  29. Bill, I also wish we showed a bit more balls over here but I would imagine those you mentioned and others who pollute our game will be looking over their shoulders for a long time as a result of all this. Corruption in football does not stop at FIFA . Riley’s day of reckoning is coming

  30. As far as I know, it is difficult to beat the FBI, unless you are Michael Corleone.
    Seriously, the Swiss authorities could have acted, but only about FIFA bribes to award World Cups.
    The fact that the Swiss police is now looking at evidence from FIFA’s headquarters is great news.
    At this time, this is only a good start. Let’s hope Sepp Blatter and his clique are also indicted.

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