Stuffing your girlfriend’s knickers
By Andrew Jennings
Imagine having a secret offshore bank account that no tax inspector could ever find. You stuff it full of cash, acquired in all sorts of dodgy ways.
Want to spend the money? Easy: You demand bundles of cash from the servile clerks. They are never a problem because you are their employer! Sounds odd, but stay with me. It gets better.
Then you fly home with the money stuffed down your underpants – or in your girlfriend’s knickers. It happens.
You fly first class, travel in chauffeured limousines and may have a diplomatic passport. So it’s unlikely you will be stopped by Customs officers searching for narco-dollars or suspecting money-laundering.
Tax exempt world of FIFA
You spend some of the money in the country where the bank is based, (Yes, Switzerland, well guessed readers!) buying yourself fancy presents – maybe an antique Mercedes that the bank is happy to register in its name, to protect your asset from the tax inspectors back home.
WELCOME to the whacky, tax exempt world of FIFA’s 23-man Executive Committee – the ExCo – and how they get rich out of football. Today, we feature the weird world of Brazil’s ‘Tricky’ Ricardo Teixeira . . . and his secret account at FIFA, Number 1663.
Let’s go back to the early summer of 1998. Tricky Ricky had been hard at work ripping off the Brazilian Football federation (CBF). He deserved a holiday and where better than in the City of Love.
But how could he get somebody else to pay the bill to go to Paris? In a back room cupboard at home in Rio he found the World Cup won by Romario (ugh, Tricky hates that man) and the national team in 1994. It had to be returned and Tricky was planning to send it FedEx or DHL.
Nice one, Tricky!
But . . . if he put it in his luggage he could gouge a first class flight out of FIFA and all the luxury trappings that ExCo members expect as of right. And as boss of the CBF he could charge his trip to them as well, doubling his money. Nice one, Tricky!
So Tricky went off to Paris, charging $5,700 for his flight. Handing over the trophy before the next World Cup wasn’t easy. According to his expenses claim, it took 10 days to find somebody, anybody, to accept the trophy. The daily allowance for ExCo members in 1998 was $200 a day – another $2,000! His holiday over, Teixeira began claiming again for FIFA meetings and the Congress and then the month of World Cup matches.
It all went into Account Number 1663, joining more money from dubious sources - like profits from illicit trading in World Cup tickets. There’s lots more claimed for travel expenses and hospitality – FIFA doesn’t ask for receipts – and money siphoned out of grants to their national associations. Other ExCo members, in Switzerland on other business, would route their trip through Zurich so FIFA would be induced to foot the bill, often, like Tricky, doubling their money through doubling their claims.
Safe home for dirty money
President Havelange, himself skimming millions in kickbacks from the ISL marketing company, wasn’t going to make any trouble. Anyway in those days he was Tricky’s father-in-law and had shown the boy how to milk ISL. To keep his ExCo gang happy, new President Blatter (Account Number 469) soon lifted the daily allowances to $500 a day and created a new allowance of $200 a day for partners.
PUZZLE: Where did Teixeira start his journey to Paris? On his Account 1663 it looks like he was in Pago in American Samoa, a quick flight from Samoa where dirty money has long been given a safe home.