FIFA says that secretary general Jerome Valcke was not involved in the $10 million payment mentioned in the corruption investigation brought by U.S. authorities, despite a letter surfacing Tuesday that would appear to implicate him directly.
Instead, the soccer's world governing body says that payment was approved by Argentine Football Association president Julio Grondona in 2007. Grondona died last July at age 82.
The New York Times reported Monday that U.S. law enforcement officials believe Valcke transferred money in 2008 to accounts controlled by Jack Warner, the former CONCACAF president, who was indicted last week on corruption charges.
FIFA says the $10 million payment was South African government's "project to support the African diaspora in Caribbean countries as part of the World Cup legacy” and that “Valcke nor any other member of FIFA’s senior management were involved in the initiation, approval and implementation of the above project.”
That $10 million payment is part of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation was led to the arrest and indictment of 14 people were are accused of taking more than $150 million in bribes.
The individuals were also charged with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering in a two-decade scheme to make themselves rich "through the corruption of international soccer, according to the Justice Department.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter denied being the unidentified high-ranking official named in the indictment as having "caused" the payment. Blatter won re-election last week for a fifth, four-year term as FIFA president despite the corruption scandal.
FIFA announced Monday that Valcke canceled his planned trip to attend the opening of the Women's World Cup in Canada this weekend "due to the current situation."
- Scooby Axson