Members of the South African government and the country's 2010 World Cup bid committee paid $10 million in bribes to get FIFA officials to vote for the country's World Cup bid in 2006, the United States Department of Justice alleges in an indictment unsealed in federal court Wednesday.
According to the indictment, "high-ranking FIFA officials, the South African government and the South African bid committee" arranged in 2006 to have the country's government pay $10 million to the Caribbean Football Union, a subset of CONCACAF, if Jack Warner, then a FIFA vice president and the president of CONCACAF, and two other FIFA officials voted for South Africa's bid to host the 2010 World Cup.
Trinidad and Tobago has issued a arrest warrant for Warner, a Trinidadian national, according to the Associated Press.
The vote to choose the host of the 2010 tournament was held in 2006 and won by South Africa. Morocco and Egypt were also bidding to host the event. Warner had visited Morocco in 2004 and been offered $1 million from the Moroccan bid committee in exchange for his vote, the indictment says. He later learned that South Africa was prepared to pay $10 million for three votes.
Warner told a person identified in the indictment only as "Co-Conspirator #1" (widely reported to be former U.S. soccer executive Chuck Blazer) that he would give him $1 million of the $10 million payment, the indictment says.
Co-Conspirator #1 later "learned that the South Africans were unable to arrange for the payment to be made directly from government funds." Instead, the money was sent from FIFA to CFU "using funds that would otherwise have gone from FIFA to South Africa to support the World Cup."
The money was sent by a "high-ranking FIFA official" from a FIFA bank account in Switzerland to CFU and CONCACAF accounts in New York controlled by Warner. Warner "caused a substantial portion of the funds to be diverted for his personal use," the indictment alleges.
Warner then made payments to Co-Conspirator #1 over the course of three years totaling more than $750,000, according to the indictment.
- Dan Gartland