Shock! Sepp Blatter speaks with forked tongue
By Andrew Jennings
Sunday September 4, 2011
Sepp Blatter announces publically that he is drafting a ‘road map’ for reform at Fifa. Simultaneously last week, he secretly authorised throwing more Fifa money at Zurich lawyers in a desperate bid to prevent publication of a police report on bribery at Fifa that would bring a shameful end to his presidency.
Earlier this year Transparency in Sport and the BBC revealed the existence of this damning report, locked away in the office of the Zug public prosecutor. It’s the result of eight years of investigations by Magistrate Thomas Hildbrand seeking to discover which Fifa officials trousered an astonishing $100 million in bribes in return for giving World Cup contracts to the now defunct ISL marketing company.
That investigation ended in May last year with three targets of the investigation repaying millions, making a big donation to charity, admitting their guilt and in return being given anonymity.
Catastrophe for Blatter
Publication would be a catastrophe for Blatter and the corrupt group surrounding him. Blatter’s secret confession that he always knew about the bribes and that he had allowed the money to be ripped off from Fifa would make him the subject of global loathing.
Blatter would also be revealed as a bare-faced liar: On June 24 last year he issued a press release asserting that ‘the Fifa President has been cleared of any wrong-doing in this matter.’ The prosecutor’s office in Zug was furious when they saw this and are determined to do all in their power to make the report public.
So its easy to understand why Blatter has promised Zurich lawyers all the money they want to battle onwards through the Swiss courts hoping to suppress his confession.
‘Kidnapping, burglary or robbery.’
Fifa – that’s Blatter - has had to admit it is one of the Zug Three. Who are the remaining Zug Two? In secret correspondence arguing for suppression their lawyers claim their clients would suffer ‘negative press coverage.’ Their reputations would be ‘damaged irreparably.’ They might even suffer ‘kidnapping, burglary or robbery.’
Fifa is represented by Zurich’s far-from-cheap Nobel & Hug law firm, always on hand when Blatter is in trouble. Dr Peter Nobel was the man in the shadows in 2004 setting up an anonymous account to channel some of the bribes back to the liquidator of the ISL company. He popped up again when my book FOUL! was about to be published.
Again, Dr Nobel favoured a secret court hearing in Zurich where he asked a judge for a Europe-wide ban on the book. Why? He said that publication would cause ‘massive personal injury’ to his client. He lost that one but for Dr Nobel, win or lose, Fifa corruption pays wonderfully.
Here’s ‘Tricky Ricky’
So who else is earning good money out of Fifa corruption, representing the Zug Two? There’s another Zurich law firm, Schweigers. Who is their client? No surprise, it’s Ricardo Teixeira – now universally known in Brazil as ‘Tricky Ricky’ - who BBC Panorama named for taking at least $9 million in bribes from ISL. That’s all we could prove. Personally, I suspect it is several multiples of that.
Who is the third man who doesn’t want his name published and his bribes revealed? Yes, it’s Mr Teixeira’s former father-in-law João Havelange (the wife/daughter was dumped long ago for a young trophy specimen but the men remain tight). Havelange presided over Fifa for 24 years and created the revolting saga of corruption that is finally unfolding. Through various secretive money-laundering companies in Liechtenstein he may have siphoned more than $50 million in bribes. Havelange is represented by the Niedermann law firm.