Investigators: Top FIFA officials split $80 million in bonuses
Three top FIFA officials allegedly awarded themselves salary increases and bonuses totaling nearly $80 million over five years, according to contracts released by FIFA on Friday.
Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter, former secretary general Jerome Valcke and former finance director Markus Kattner appear to have paid each other bonuses tied to the World Cup along with other incentives in the last five years since their departure from world soccer’s governing body.
“The evidence appears to reveal a coordinated effort by three former top officials of FIFA to enrich themselves through annual salary increases, World Cup bonuses and other incentives totaling more than CHF 79 million ($79.7 million) – in just the last five years,” said Bill Burck, a partner with Quinn Emanuel, the U.S. law firm leading the investigation into corruption in FIFA.
Blatter was banned from FIFA for eight years last December amid the corruption scandal, but his suspension was reduced to six years on appeal. Valcke was dismissed from his position in January after allegations he sold World Cup tickets over face value, and he was subsequently banned from the organization for 12 years. Kattner was fired in May after 13 years as finance director as he faced allegations he had broken his legal responsibilities to FIFA.
“We look forward to showing FIFA that Mr. Blatter’s compensation payments were proper, fair and in line with the heads of major professional sports leagues around the world,” Blatter’s lawyer said in a statement.
Kattner was responsible for approving FIFA’s largest payments, and signed off on giving Blatter eight-figure bonuses, according to the contracts, which were disclosed following a search of FIFA headquarters by Swiss authorities on Thursday.
FIFA provided information on the contracts to the Swiss attorney general and the U.S. Department of Justice and will conduct an ethics committee review.