Revealed – Blatter’s Spin Doctor Peter Hargitay Devises FIFA Reform ‘Road Map’
By Andrew Jennings
Friday January 6, 2012:
Sepp Blatter’s attempts to convince the world he wants to reform FIFA are being master-minded by Peter Hargitay, the ‘crisis manager’ who worked to polish the image of sanctions buster and tax dodger Marc Rich and of the Union Carbide company after the appalling industrial disaster in Bhopal, India, that cost thousands of lives.
His latest mission is to distract attention from Blatter’s attempts to avoid publishing the report of Zug Investigating magistrate Thomas Hildbrand into FIFA officials who took kickbacks for awarding marketing contracts to the ISL company. This report is believed to reveal Blatter’s involvement in the bribes scandal. Last month the appeal court in Zug ruled it was in the public interest that the report is published.
Hargitay has devised the creation of ‘task forces’ which Blatter claims will reform FIFA. These include examining FIFA’s statutes, ethics, transparency and compliance. It sounds impressive but is intended to prevent independent investigations of serious corruption at football’s governing body.
It will take many months for any proposals to be considered by FIFA’s ExCo. Three of the members – plus Blatter - who have to approve it are Issa Haytou, Nicolas Leoz and Ricardo Teixeira. All have been linked to payments from ISL. Then they will be presented to FIFA’s Congress this summer. Blatter’s ‘road map’ is planned to be completed in the middle of 2013 when he hopes to secure the rest of his term in office.
Hargitay was first hired by Blatter in 2002 to divert reporters from the growing ISL scandal. On his website Hargitay promised clients ‘powerful strategies to “stay out of the media”’ and to prepare such briefs, news items and alternative scoops that would divert, detract and destabilise imminent media interest.’
At the same time Hargitay was a principal operator at the Zurich-based ABI private investigation company that offered clients ‘covert operation assignments,’ a ‘software expert with hacker-credentials’ and ‘military and government-level surveillance’ operations. Another of his companies boasted that it could crack private bank accounts.
Previously Hargitay was remanded in custody for seven months in Miami accused of cocaine trafficking. He was acquitted.
Hargitay was hired by the English FA but ‘let go’ when he reportedly asked for £4 million to bribe FIFA ExCo members to award the 2018 World Cup to England. Hargitay was then recruited by the equally unsuccessful Australian bid to host the 2022 tournament.
The involvement of Hargitay in Blatter’s schemes is likely to be of concern to members of the Independent Governance Commission (IGC), set up by Blatter and chaired by distinguished Professor Mark Pieth. They include former British Attorney General Lord Peter Goldsmith.
Blatter has appointed new Executive Committee member Mohamed Raouraoua from Algeria, ranked at 135 in world press freedoms, to be chair of FIFA’s Media Committee. Mr Raouraoua is also a member of FIFA’s Legal Committee. He became a member of FIFA’s ExCo after Nigeria’s Amos Adamu was found guilty of soliciting a bribe. Here he is pictured with another FIFA ExCo member Issa Hayatou who last month was reprimanded by the IOC last month over a payment he received from ISL. Hayatou is from Cameroun which ranks at 129th in the Press Freedom Index.