World Economy

UK Banks Linked to Corrupt FIFA Transactions, Scandals

UK Banks Linked to Corrupt FIFA Transactions, ScandalsUK Banks Linked to Corrupt FIFA Transactions, Scandals

British banks have allegedly been party to corrupt transactions worth millions of dollars linked to FIFA, according to legal papers from the US Department of Justice (DoJ).

Barclays and HSBC were named in the papers after the US DoJ noted millions of dollars linked to the corrupt football organization had been moved through their accounts, RT reported.

The Serious Fraud Office said they were examining information relating to possible corruption at FIFA. A spokesperson said the office was "actively assessing material in its possession and ready to assist international criminal investigations".

Speaking to the House of Commons on Thursday following an urgent question on the FIFA scandal, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport John Whittingdale said he would support any investigation the SFO made.  “I have no doubt they will be looking closely to see if any laws have been broken in this country,” he said.

Suspect transactions include the transfer of £320,000 ($489,424) to the account of a luxury yacht manufacturer in London, and the payment of £130,000 from a branch of Barclays in New York to an account in the offshore tax haven the Cayman Islands.

The transactions under investigation are linked to FIFA itself, its officials and their connected companies.

Clean Bill

As the official FIFA audit company, international auditors KPMG is also implicated at the heart of the scandal, with hard questions asked about why the accountants gave FIFA a clean bill of health despite allegations of corruption.

“As FIFA’s statutory auditor, we are bound by professional confidentiality and have to refrain from any comment,” a spokesperson said of the allegations.

The potential investigation into British banks comes after seven high-ranking FIFA officials were arrested in Zurich on Wednesday ahead of the presidential election, as part of two separate investigations mounted by US and Swiss authorities.

The 14 charged are believed to include “businessmen, bankers and other trusted intermediaries who laundered illicit payments,” according to US Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Many of the transactions relate to sports marketing company Traffic, which is owned by one of the accused Aaron Davidson, the US DoJ documents reveal.

US Banks Involved

The scandal is also expected to involve a number of US banks. Analyst Pepe Escobar told RT that at the center of the scandal are members of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) making corrupt transactions in American banks.

“The number one whistleblower is an American citizen, Chuck Blazer – the number two at CONCACAF – who gave all the important information to the FBI. It’s basically all connected to corruption involving people in the CONCACAF transiting to American banks.”

Blatter Reelected

Sepp Blatter gained 133 votes to Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein’s 73 in the first round of voting, not enough to secure a two-thirds majority, but the challenger conceded defeat.

Blatter somehow finished the week with the broadest of smiles. Despite the lingering controversy and a strong campaign by a determined opponent, Prince Ali of Jordan, Blatter won a fifth consecutive term as FIFA’s president on Friday. A second ballot would have required only a simple majority, making Prince Ali a long shot, and he withdrew from the race.

With his victory, Blatter, 79, continues his 40-year career with FIFA; he has served as president since 1998. His accomplishments are significant; under his watch, FIFA has overseen considerable growth in soccer’s popularity and has drastically increased its commitment to women’s soccer, youth soccer and aid for developing countries through sports. Although Blatter has never been directly implicated, FIFA has been dogged by scandal during his tenure.