FBI hopes FIFA officials will give up Blatter

| 04/06/2015 | 32 Comments
Cayman News Service

Chuck Blazer

(CNS): The president of the international football body, FIFA, is reportedly in the sights of the FBI as they continue their investigation into a $150 million bribery probe at the top of the sport. The US media has reported that law enforcement agencies are hoping football officials already arrested and indicted will help nail Sepp Blatter, the man at the top.  As Cayman’s Jeffrey Webb remains in a Swiss jail awaiting what could prove to be an extremely lengthy extradition process, the former local football boss is likely to be one of the FBI’s main targets to tell what he knows about Blatter and his part in the allegations about the massive corruption scandal.

The US Department of Justice, the IRS and the FBI have been conducting this investigation for several years and have already, secretly, charged former key CONCACAF official Chuck Blazer in the probe. Blazer has pleaded guilty and, in what is understood to be part of a plea bargain, had revealed much of what he knows about the corruption that is alleged to have been rife in FIFA for years.

The details of Blazer’s allegations were, according to reports on the BBC, unsealed Wednesday and CNS has contacted the relevant US authorities to obtain the documents. We have also requested confirmation regarding their reported focus on Blatter, as the agencies in New York have so far refused to confirm if the ultimate head of the football world is a target in the probe.

Following last week’s arrest of seven football dignitaries in Switzerland, including Webb, who until yesterday remained the head of local Cayman football, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch has refused to give Blatter a clean bill of health and has indicated that the probe continues. The US authorities also confirmed yesterday that they have opened an investigation into the awarding of the Russia and Qatar World Cups, alongside the Swiss probe regarding the circumstances of the selection.

Cayman News Service

FIFA President Sepp Blatter left with former CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb

Blatter, who announced his resignation just yesterday, has not been arrested and is not mentioned in the 167-page indictment from the US justice department setting out the alleged $150 million bribery, fraud and money laundering allegations against mostly officials from the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL).

But the New York Times and ABC News are reporting that investigators hope to use those now indicted to provide information that could lead to charges against Blatter. “Now that people are going to want to save themselves, there’s probably a race to see who will flip on [Blatter] first,” one of the FBI sources reportedly said.

If the damning allegations against Webb set out in the US indictment are true, he may make the same choice as his former CONCACAF colleague, Blazer. Jack Warner, Webb’s predecessor in the regional football federation who has denied the allegations and remains in Trinidad on bail but is now on the Interpol wanted list, has already queried why Blatter has not been indicted and made allegations about his former boss.

As the probe widens and Cayman continues to take centre stage, not only because of Webb’s alleged key role in the bribery scandal but the part played by local institutions, including Fidelity Bank, the Cayman government has confirmed that the authorities here are also cooperating with the investigations.

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Comments (32)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I am baffled that there are those that feel so strongly that there is rampant corruption in Cayman, but are still here reaping and living off these corrupted funds. Go and find somewhere else that is “paradise” or is this “your paradise”. Just wondering!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    BBC: “Romanian prosecutors have questioned Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who is suspected of forgery, tax evasion and money laundering.
    The case, concerning Mr Ponta’s work as a lawyer in 2007-2008, is being handled by the anti-corruption agency DNA.
    President Klaus Iohannis has urged Mr Ponta to resign, saying it was “an impossible situation for Romania”.
    But Mr Ponta, who denies any wrongdoing, said only parliament can dismiss him.
    He is accused of using forged invoices from a law firm, Sova and Associates, to buy two luxury apartments and a Mitsubishi Lancer car, Romanian media report.”

    Clearly this is all Jeff Webb’s fault. And Cayman. Cayman is to blame for everything happening everywhere…..

    • Anonymous says:

      But Romania’s Prime Minister doesn’t work for FIFA or CONCACAF does he?
      Webb did.
      Don’t try to excuse this mans criminality by saying, ‘everyone else does it so why can’t he?’.
      That is the dumbest defence of the indefensible that I’ve seen so far, but this is Cayman I suppose, where the countries defence for facilitating tax avoidance is, ‘it’s legal here’ and not, ‘ how can we stop foreign citizens from depositing illegal money in our banking, development and property sectors?’.
      Typical self interest and head in the sand approach.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I have been working for CONCACAF for two years but please don’t tell my mother, she thinks that I am in Cayman helping the Jamaican and Nigerian lottery scammers rob American retirees out of their life savings.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Public Appeal: Where are our former Ministers of Public Office– the Honourable Mark Scotland & Honourable Cline Glidden?

    Are they still conducting FIFA business in Zurich, Switzerland?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Excerpt from BBC News Article:

    “It is an organisation of which there is scant knowledge in the US. This is a story that across Europe and much of the rest of the world is leading the news every night. In the US it is not even in the television headlines – despite the whole process being driven by the FBI. And that is important. It would be lovely to think that in the separation of powers that is one of the distinguishing features of liberal democracies, the judicial system operates entirely independently of the executive. But does it?…There is always a murky political consideration of what gets investigated and how…The laws hadn’t changed, just a change in the desire to implement them…So three cheers for the FBI, its very long reach and US justice? Well, up to a point…Some of the charges relate to alleged crimes in the US, but there are massive implications to what my legal friends would call ETJ – Extraterritorial Jurisdiction…the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act…Treaties…breaching American sanctions…create a new legal imperialism?”

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-33011847

    • Anonymous says:

      If that’s the case, why are the South African, Swiss, Caymanian, T&T and probably a whole host of other police services around the world investigating. And why are the UK FCO and the Serious Fraud Office conducting enquiries?
      Whilst the FBI might be taking the lead on this investigation due to the crimes committed by U.S Citizens on US soil, is certainly isn’t the only law enforcement agency involved.
      The lefties at the BBC love nothing more than to whinge on about American imperialism, just take it with a pinch of salt, watch a cross section of the news, and make your own mind up.

  6. Anonymous says:

    You are ABSOLUTELY correct…and the rest of the emerging and developed world knows it.

    1st, To acquire assets; 2nd, To hide (or place) it; and, 3rd, To retrieve it (undetected) [ALL COMMON SENSE. No Criminal Act Required].

    The tricks to accomplishing this process, in a myriad ways, are becoming few & more, more risky to exposure. Most investors risk having their assets confiscated by the government or embezzled by the trust/nominee. So, “Trust” is a big factor- and once breached all hell can break loose.

    This is exactly what is transpiring in the FIFA Corruption Scandal [i.e. reads like everyday Cayman business], with more to come.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Warner is predicting an ‘Avalanche’ of his evidence against FIFA officials and says at 72 he’s not going to lose his freedom because of them.
    But isn’t it striking how the African and Caribbean mentality works?
    This is a man who has now admitted being the centre of corruption at CONCACAF and FIFA, he has made himself very wealthy indeed from stolen money, and yet he is held up by a large section of his people as a hero fighting against FIFA and the U.S. Authorities because he has decided to rollover and spill the beans. As if he’s some paragon of integrity that is doing what is right, instead of saving his cowardly skin.
    Likewise in South Africa we have heard strong rebuttals of allegations concerning a $10m bribe paid to host the World Cup. Singing the same old song of racism and colonialism, conspiracies against their colour, not their ethics or integrity.
    Now Blazer has given the U.S proof that he did indeed engineer such a bribe.

    Unfortunately similar attitudes exist here on Cayman. Far too many people live in denial about Cayman’s role in tax avoidance, money laundering and facilitation of both. The rich don’t come here for anything else but to hide their money from the worlds tax authorities, plain and simple. It may be technically legal according to law, but is it honest and ethical when so many people in their home countries have limited access to healthcare, housing or even food. I’m all for capitalism and wealth creation, I do not follow the politics of envy, but to deny that the rich do not use Cayman’s financial laws to manipulate and avoid taxes is clearly a delusion alongside those of SA and Warner and his supporters.
    Just think about it, what is the point of Cayman if it’s not for wealth management. Without its ability to facilitate the rich it would just be a very small tourism destination amongst hundreds in the same locality.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Captain must go down with the ship.

      Isn’t that a suitable philosophy? Similarly meaning: What if good for one is good for all. It’s a hard lesson, though, when it involves [a network of] corruption.

    • Anonymous says:

      You forgot to mention that there is a probe against France winning the right to host the 98 world cup, why leave out the powerful white nations, there is a lot more to come my dear friend.

      • Anonymous says:

        But France isn’t accusing African or Caribbean nations of racism or neo colonialism and it isn’t making delusional claims of innocence or trying to bury its head in the sand. But I guess just being white is guilty enough for you.
        Blazer and Blatter are both white, but no one is trying to defend them or excuse what they’ve done. On the contrary, they are the main focus of the investigations and are not defended by their home countries.
        So yes, they may be more to come, but living in denial is not the way forward.

      • Anonymous says:

        Who mentioned black or white, there are more than a fair share of Latinos involved. Not all African and Caribbean people’s are black you know.

      • MC Solaar says:

        You forgot to mention that there are as many as 5 million black people in France ol’ buddy.

        • Anonymous says:

          The same amount of whites live in South Africa and was born there(Google it), 85% of blacks living in France are migrants….ok dearest friend, oh and we know how the South Africa story goes.

      • Anonymous says:

        Don’t be putting those frenchies in the same boat as me and my whitey friends!

    • Anonymous says:

      …and, ‘Tourism and Real Estate’ is significant part of the wealth management portfolios that facilitate fraud, laundering, and tax evasion. In fact, it was the genesis of our problems. The infrastructure of Seven Mile Beach and Rum Point are great examples of foreign owned RE investments – with prominent Cayman lawyers and law firms at the helm of it. Furthermore, don’t omit the consortium of lawyers who aid and abet those processes that are violating the laws of their homeland.

      Cayman is not in denial — just dishonest.

      Remember, history has shown, you have to lie and steal to accumulate wealth without regard for the families/people adversely impacted.

      • Get Real says:

        Of course the good old USA is the biggest RE shelter in the world for criminals and despots. Ferdinand Marcos owned the Galeria Mall in Houston and Miami’s skyline was entirely built by Columbian drug money, just to mention a couple examples. Cash deposits of foreigners held in U.S. banks are not taxed btw. And let’s not overlook London. Home to thousands of non-doms receiving beneficial tax treatment and including all sorts of Russian mobsters and retired dictators from all over the world. Yes your ivory towers may be shiny but they are built on vast foundations of filthy dirt.

    • Anonymous says:

      But, perhaps its actually unethical of other countries to charge such a high rate of tax on their citizens – progressive rates are 40%, 45% and up! Governments use force to demand their share or private citizens’ income, there is no choice in the matter. How is it fair of a country to demand nearly half of people’s income. Also, governments hardly ever reduce tax rates, there is no need for them so, spending budget only get larger. With low or zero tax jurisdiction it creates some semblance of competition between governments to keep rates ‘lower’, in theory one would hope so.

      • Anonymous says:

        Firstly, how much money does the private individual need to live a comfortable and privileged lifestyle?
        40% of $10m still leaves $6m to get by on at worst, and that’s a tiny figure compared to the huge amounts of money we are talking about. Once you start hoarding millions, if not billions, then the figures become somewhat different.
        This isn’t about companies making legitimate profits to reinvest in their business and their people, this isn’t about stopping investment in R&D or future expansion.
        Its about individuals making as much as they can and then denying their greed to forment power and influence. And it’s certainly about those who use Cayman’s laws to deny their countries of perfectly legal business taxes in order to enrich themselves further.
        As a citizen of a country it is you who decide whether to remain a citizen or otherwise. If you choose to set up a business or sit at the pinnacle of your profession, then you must accept the laws in place and pay your dues accordingly. If you don’t want to pay up, then leave and hand your passport back.
        Is it ethical to allow someone who earns $10m a year to build a fortune that he cannot possibly spend in a lifetime, whilst his fellow citizens are disadvantaged through a number of societal issues reliant on government and charity funding. Is it ethical that ordinary people who pay their own taxes are then effectively making up for tax avoidance by giving to charity. Is it ethical that the people who enable the rich to get richer are disadvantaged by low pay, mediocre health benefits and equally poor pensions?
        Of course there are a few exceptions amongst the mega rich, Bill Gates for example, who is giving away his billions to make the world a better place. But we’re not talking about the mega rich, we are talking about those who exceed normal boundaries of comfort and privilege, yet want more and more.

        This isn’t about envy or trying to curb aspiration, it’s just about paying the lawful taxes owed. And if you don’t want the taxman to take your profits, indulge in ethical and lawful tax avoidance by reinvesting in the business and its people, not yourselves.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with much of what you say but it is naïve to think that the money the rich allegedly hide here would provide “healthcare, housing or even food” to those in ‘their home countries”. That is a sentimental, specious view of the situation. Would that it were not so! It is far more likely to be used to build war planes, aircraft carriers, smart bombs and drones or to be funneled as “foreign aid’ to some vile corrupt dictator to build his palace and buy his jet with. And, by the way, every single person I know (none of them of more than average means) is a “wealth manager”. In the UK, they are all doing whatever they can to avoid Inheritance Tax so that the “taxman” gets the minimum he is entitled to. Perfectly legal and understandable; are we not all “wealth managers” no matter how little ‘wealth” we have?

      • Anonymous says:

        I myself have no idea what the hidden money here would be used for if it couldn’t be hidden. I’m just not as smart as youse guys

      • Anonymous says:

        Likewise, but inheritance tax was devised to stop inherited wealth from keeping the children of the rich, well, rich and eventually richer. In effect it’s a redistribution of wealth after death. In the UK the nil limit is £325,000, meaning no tax payable for assets worth up to this amount. After this limit, the first £325,000 remains tax free, followed by 40% on the balance. A reduction in tax payable is applicable if a percentage is left to charity.
        So in effect, someone who may never have done a days work in their lives could stand to inherit a minimum of £325,000 without paying a penny in tax.
        But the point being, many of those who exceed this limit are considerably wealthier than the average home owner and beneficiary of a modest inheritance. We are talking about those whose inherited wealth far exceeds the average and who are possibly very comfortable in their own right.
        If you can afford the outrageous fees demanded by ‘wealth managers’ to hide your free money, then you can afford to pay legitimate taxes.
        It should also be said that the UK government are looking at raising the nil limit to £500,000 or maybe above. In anyone’s book, that’s an awful lot of money to be given, (not worked for) tax free.
        As for your view of tax expenditure. Like you I believe far to much leaves the country when our own people are in need. However I also believe in defence of the realm and equipment procurement. The UK has used its considerable military power inappropriately, Blair and his Labour Party are still paying the cost in elections. But that is why elections are held in democratic countries, we hold the politicians accountable for their lies and deceptions. And the same applies to taxation. People are fed up with multi nationals avoiding domestic taxation, they are fed up with seeing the rich and famous try to avoid paying their share and they are fed up with picking up the slack. It seems everyone wants to be British, but no one wants to pay for the privilege.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Warner has already said on TV that he has rolled over and placed evidence of corruption within FIFA’s executive committee, (including Blatter) and of bribery and corruption during the T&T elections, with several different sources. He also says he fears for his life.
    This could get a whole lot worse yet, when Webb starts talking, (and he will) Cayman better be prepared.

    • Anonymous says:

      He should because if he’s facing 20 years at least in prison, he might as well help to clean up the mess…… for the love of country and finally for some love of football

  9. Huskywarner says:

    That Blazer looks like a reliable and trustworthy informant. This is why the U.S. legal system is so warped. It’s all based on supergrassers ratting on others in return for beneficial treatment.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hahaha…catch the U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident [GreenCard Holder] and you can catch all the others. A Classic example!

    • Anonymous says:

      Doh!!! That’s the trouble with organised crime, it’s organised. Which means that unless someone rolls over and pleas it is almost impossible to get close enough to get hard evidence.

  10. Anonymous says:

    As long as Web is in jail, the US will be in no hurry.

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