ANKARA (AA) – Former high-ranking FIFA officials awarded themselves suspect payments totaling more than $80 million, world football’s governing body said on Friday.
Among these was former FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
FIFA said in a statement that lawyers conducting an internal investigation into wrongdoing at the organization today released information regarding details on contracts and compensation for a small group of former officials.
Bill Burck, a partner with Quinn Emanuel – the law firm conducting the internal investigation at FIFA, was quoted as saying: “The evidence appears to reveal a coordinated effort by three former top officials of FIFA to enrich themselves through annual salary increases, World Cup bonuses and other incentives totaling more than CHF 79 million ($80.07 millions) – in just the last five years.”
The FIFA statement says the compensation was awarded to the body's former president Sepp Blatter, former secretary general Jerome Valcke and former deputy secretary general Markus Kattner, who also served as FIFA’s chief financial officer.
FIFA said it shared this information with the Office of the Swiss Attorney General (OAG) and would brief the U.S. Department of Justice.
Friday’s revelation comes a day after police in Switzerland raided the headquarters of soccer's governing body in Zurich.
The OAG said on Friday that documents and electronic data were seized as part of the ongoing investigations against Blatter and Valcke.
Last year, FIFA banned Blatter from taking part in any football-related activity at national and international level for a period of six years.
The proceedings against Blatter primarily related to a payment of CHF 2,000,000 ($2.04 million) transferred in Feb. 2011 from FIFA to Michel Platini, the head of UEFA, the governing body of football in Europe.
FIFA said Friday it will also “refer the matter of these contracts and payments to the FIFA Ethics Committee for its review”.
The OAG opened criminal proceedings against Blatter in Sep. 2015 and against Valcke in March this year.