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FBI probes failed World Cup bids

7 December 2011 13:15

The FBI has launched an investigation into alleged corruption following the USA's failed 2022 World Cup bid.

It is believed the FBI holds 'substantial evidence' of outside organisations attempting to hack into the email accounts of members of the USA's 2022 World Cup bid.

The central point of the FBI's interest in the investigation are alleged bribery payments made to FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer.

The American, a committee member since 1996, is believed to have received commission payments totaling more than $US500,000.

Blazer did not deny the payments, saying at the time: "All of my transactions have been legally and properly done, in compliance with the various laws of the applicable jurisdictions based on the nature of the transaction."

Members of England's failed 2018 World Cup bid were interviewed last month, although they are not believed to be under suspicion.

It has also been reported that the FBI are investigating the alleged bribery of Mohammed Bin Hammam, who stood against Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency.

Bin Hammam was found to have offered $US40,000 bribes to three Caribbean football officials, just three weeks before the election and has since been banned from FIFA for life, with a further 16 Caribbean football officials being sanctioned for their part in the Trinidad meeting.

Another committee member under the spotlight is Thai Worawi Makudi. Makudi is alleged to have used money from FIFA's GOAL project to build facilities on land owned by him.

Blatter, who has been head of the organisation for the past 13 years, had planned to publish Swiss court papers that detailed bribes received by FIFA officials from the collapsed sports rights and marketing agency ISL.

FIFA are said to have been keen to publish the documents since the court action against the officials, who have since been named as former FIFA president Joao Havelange and executive committee member Ricardo Teixeira.

However, FIFA have been forced to delay the publication, following legal objections from one of the parties. Despite the delay, Blatter remains fully committed to publishing the documents as soon as possible.

"It was my strong will to make the ISL file fully transparent," he said.

"I have now been advised that as a result of the objection of a third party to such transparency it will take more time to overcome the respective legal hurdles."

"This does not change my stance at all. I remain fully committed to publishing the files as soon as possible as an important part of my many reform plans for FIFA, which include handling the past as well as preparing the future structure of the organisation."

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