Three former FIFA top officials including Joseph Blatter enriched themselves by more than 79 million Swiss francs (80 million dollars) in the last five years, an internal investigation by the world football body has revealed.
The Quinn Emanuel law firm conducting the investigation said "contract arrangements benefited a small group of former FIFA officials" and some contained "provisions that appear to violate Swiss law," according to a FIFA statement Friday, one day after Swiss prosecutors again raided the organization's headquarters.
Besides former FIFA president Blatter, former secretary general Jerome Valcke and former finance chief Markus Kattner were found to have skimmed FIFA's funds.
According to Quinn Emanuel partner Bill Burck, "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."
FIFA said that "the investigation has revealed evidence of breaches of fiduciary duty."
The findings also raised concerns about lack of oversight by FIFA’s compensation sub-committee, it added.
"FIFA has shared this information with the Office of the Swiss Attorney General and it will brief the U.S. Department of Justice on the matters as well," it announced, referring to criminal proceedings in football corruption cases in both countries.
FIFA's probe revealed that Blatter, Valcke and Kattner received 23 million francs in special bonuses for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, apparently without any existing contract provisions to that effect.
Valcke and Kattner were also awarded bonuses totalling 29.5 million francs for the 2014 Brazil World Cup and for the 2018 event to be held in Russia.
Shortly before FIFA made its findings public, the Swiss attorney general's office (OAG) confirmed that it raided FIFA's Zurich headquarters again on Thursday in the ongoing investigations into Blatter and Valcke.
"Documents and electronic data were seized. Their relevance for the ongoing proceedings is now being analyzed," the office said in a brief statement.
In September, Swiss authorities launched a criminal process against Blatter on suspicion that he mismanaged FIFA funds.
Blatter's office was raided and documents were seized on September 24 for the first time.
The OAG has been looking into "a disloyal payment" of 2 million Swiss francs by Blatter to Michel Platini, the former head of European football body UEFA. The transaction in February 2011 was purportedly made for work that Platini performed about 10 years earlier.
FIFA has banned Blatter and Platini from all football-related activities in the wake of the scandal.
The Swiss top prosecutors also suspect that Blatter closed a contract in detriment to FIFA's interests in 2005 with Jack Warner, the disgraced former head of the Central and North American soccer body CONCACAF.
In March, Swiss authorities also initiated proceedings against Valcke for suspected disloyal conduct of business and other possible criminal offences.
The Frenchman was fired in January and has also been banned from football.
Both Blatter and Valcke have denied wrong-doing.
FIFA has been mired in corruption scandals for more than a year.
Blatter had led the organization since 1998 but announced his resignation in June 2015 shortly after corruption allegations against him and senior FIFA officials surfaced.
US prosecutors have charged numerous Latin American football functionaries including Warner with corrupt dealings related to marketing contracts.
Blatter's successor Gianni Infantino was tasked with cleaning up the game but he too has come under pressure after German media reported he requested an audio recording of a council meeting held last month in Mexico City be deleted.
He was also accused of being involved in a plot to remove former independent audit and compliance chairman Domenico Scala, who eventually resigned in protest at a FIFA congress decision which allowed FIFA's new-look council the right to appoint and dismiss members of key control bodies.
FIFA hit back by saying: "Any insinuations this decision was the result of a conspiracy are ludicrous."
Saturday, June 4, 2016 - 17:25
Friday, September 9, 2016 - 13:33