The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), United States, are investigating suspended FIFA president, Sepp Blatter over his alleged knowledge of the $100 million bribe paid to FIFA officials by a sports-marketing agency (ISL) in the 1990s.
According to a BBC investigative report, the ISL marketing agency was found to have routinely bribed top sports officials, including Blatter’s predecessor Joao Havelange, and in return, received television and marketing rights during the 1990s.
Havelange served as FIFA president from 1974 to 1998 and became the organization’s honorary president after stepping down. But in 2013, Havelange resigned from his honorary role after a FIFA investigation found that he and former Brazilian FA president Ricardo Teixeira, his former son-in-law, had taken millions of dollars in bribes from ISL over an eight-year period in the 1990s.
Teixeria was among the 16 FIFA officials charged with money laundering conspiracies, among other offenses, by the U.S Department of Justice last week.
Switzerland’s justice ministry confirmed on Monday that American authorities formally asked for files in the ISL kickbacks case to aid their sprawling investigation of alleged racketeering by international soccer leaders.
Blatter has maintained he was unaware of the payments, but the BBC said it had seen a letter obtained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States that casts doubt on his denial.
The letter, apparently written by Havelange, talks about the payments he received from ISL. It says Blatter had “full knowledge of all activities” and was “always apprised” of them.
The letter is included in an FBI request to the Swiss authorities for help with their investigation.
The letter written in 2010 reads: “During the period of time in which I was Fifa president, Mr Joseph Blatter was the secretary general, I maintained commercial relationships with sports marketing companies which were under my economic control, and, as a result of these relationships, I received remuneration, in accordance with FIFA regulations, and this was the object of a judicial proceeding settlement in Switzerland without acknowledgement of any guilt.
“I clarify that all expenses for the mentioned proceeding, including attorneys, were paid by Fifa. I emphasise that Mr Joseph Blatter had full knowledge of all activities described above and was always apprised to them.”
While Blatter is already suspended from office. He faces a possible life ban from Eckert this month in a separate case of alleged financial wrongdoing with FIFA vice president Michel Platini that is part of a Swiss criminal proceeding.
The 79-year old, will appear in front of an ethics committee later this month to face charges.