By Tony Attwood
As you will know if you have been a regular reader of Untold for a while, we have been most interested in the comings and going at Fifa – the sort of things that are not generally reported in the British media – for reasons best known to themselves.
Much of this goes back to one of our most amusing moments when we noted that the Swiss media were reporting a change in their law, which meant that if a person of non-Swiss nationality attended a meeting of one of the many international sports organisations that have their HQ in Switzerland, that person would no longer have immunity from arrest for alleged crimes in other countries.
No other publication in England ran this bit of news about an obscure change in Swiss law – only Untold (we recommended moving the next Fifa conference to Venezuala), and so the UK media were all rather taken by surprise when four months later, American officers popped into a Fifa gathering on Lake Geneva and arrested a load of the crooks. Indeed writing the follow up story in May 2015 was one of my most enjoyable experiences on Untold.
Now if you have read my crowing over this event before, you might well be yawning your head off, but there has ever since been quite an issue left open. It is pure speculation of course – and I want to stress that very strongly – it is nothing but speculation. But given that it was so easy for a range of crooks to use football as a front for money laundering and fraud up to 2015, what else have they been getting up to?
And indeed we note the subsequent issues in Switzerland in which the Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber and the head of Fifa, Infantino have been implicated in various illicit meetings. As a result we ran the story Fifa in chaos as Infantino’s illegal meetings revealed and chief Swiss lawman resigns. Later news (again all ignored in the UK) was here
And that is where we left it. Except now in Switzerland a new story has emerged via the newspaper 20min.
Now it is really important at this point that I redouble my notes of caution. All my pals in Europe and I are doing is reading what is in the European press on matters football, which is totally and utterly not reported by the English media.
What this ex-prosecutor basically says is this. Lauber was a man who was very expert in terms of financial regulation, but not really that well versed in criminal matters, so it is possible that Switzerland has been exploited by some people to become a new centre of financial corruption – which is of course not its image.
Now this would fit exactly with the fact that Fifa was clearly infiltrated with various crooks, who after the 2015 incident were arrested by the Americans.
This doesn’t make Lauber corrupt – in the Fifa case he just had meetings that he should not have had. Serious for a man in his senior position, but not necessarily corrupt.
But now we move on and in November, the Italian “carabinieri” arrested more than 100 members of the ‘Ndrangheta which Wikipedia describes as a “prominent Italian Mafia-type organized crime syndicate and criminal society” which it is said, was using Switzerland as part of its trafficking business. Six people were arrested in Switzerland.
So a question which is hardly thinkable really, is now being asked, “How big is the Mafia’s presence in Switzerland?” I mean it sounds bonkers, but there it is in a serious Swiss newspaper, being asked.
But let us put another angle on this. We have repeatedly noted the dubious doings of Fifa and the fact that the Swiss Attorney General has been forced out because of his handling of the latest Fifa case. And we have recent evidence of a range of corrupt activities being carried out by people who are involved in Fifa.
And now we have a Swiss newspaper talking about the encroachment of the mafia into Switzerland.
Of course Untold hasn’t done any of this research – it is just in a reputable Swiss newspaper. And of course the English media won’t even raise questions about the world cup in Qatar.
But let’s ask, just for the hell of it, what does this have to do with football? Well, supposing you wanted to launder some money. What easier way of doing it is there than having a football club, and having your football club buy and sell players, hither and yon. Lots of money meandering around all over the place… And we know the football authorities are not very good a keeping track of money.
That is utter speculation and might sound stupid. But just suppose for one crazy moment it were true. How would the mafia deal with the local referee association if they didn’t get the result they wanted? I mean, should the PGMO be worried?
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