Soccer Official Chuck Blazer Admitted Accepting Bribes for World Cup Votes.
A former American soccer official linked to the FIFA corruption scandal admitted that he and others on the organization’s executive committee had accepted bribes for their support in the bidding to host the 1998 and 2010 World Cups, according to papers filed in the official’s criminal case and released on Wednesday.
The official, Chuck Blazer, made the admission when he pleaded guilty in 2013 to charges that included racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering and income tax evasion.
“Among other things, I agreed with other persons in or around 1992 to facilitate the acceptance of a bribe in conjunction with the selection of the host nation for the 1998 World Cup,” Mr. Blazer told Judge Raymond J. Dearie when he pleaded guilty in 2013.
Other papers filed in the case say that it was the Morocco bid committee that bribed Mr. Blazer. He also said that “I and others on the FIFA executive committee agreed to accept bribes in conjunction with the selection of South Africa as the host nation for the 2010 World Cup,” and that he “and others agreed to accept bribes and kickbacks in conjunction with the broadcast and other rights” to several Gold Cups, a regional championship in which the United States competes.
Facing up to 20 years in prison, Mr. Blazer became a cooperating witness, according to law enforcement officials, though in the redacted version of the plea hearing filed Wednesday, there were no references to Mr. Blazer’s cooperating with the government. However, law enforcement officials said that part of Mr. Blazer’s cooperation deal included secretly recording conversations.
There are at least two other cooperating witnesses in the FIFA case that suggest the kind of agreement Mr. Blazer may have struck: Daryan and Daryll Warner. They are sons of Jack Warner, the former president of Concacaf, the soccer governing body overseeing North American, Central American and the Caribbean. Mr. Blazer, a friend of Mr. Warner’s, was Concacaf’s general secretary from 1990 until 2011.
When each of the Warner sons pleaded guilty in 2013, the judge outlined their cooperation agreements with the government: They agreed to participate in undercover activities, hand over documents, regularly meet with prosecutors, testify when requested, and not divulge their cooperation to anyone without the express permission of prosecutors.
In return, prosecutors said, they would file a letter at sentencing noting each defendant’s cooperation and asking for a departure from sentencing guidelines. Prosecutors often suggest little or no prison time in return for cooperation. For Daryan Warner, prosecutors also said they would suggest he receive an S-Visa, or an informant green card.
Fifa whistleblower Chuck Blazer: I took bribes over 1998 and 2010 World Cups.
• Blazer’s plea bargain revealed by United States Department of Justice
• Blazer says he and others racketeered, took kickbacks and he avoided tax
The Fifa whistleblower Chuck Blazer has said he and others took bribes for South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup, in a testimony published by the United States Department of Justice.
Blazer, the former Concacaf general secretary and a Fifa executive committee member from 1996 to 2013, made his revelation little more than 24 hours after Sepp Blatter announced he would be standing down as Fifa’s president as the corruption crisis in world football deepened.
“I and others on the Fifa executive committee agreed to accept bribes in conjunction with the selection of South Africa as the host nation for the 2010 World Cup,” Blazer said in his testimony.
“During my association with Fifa and Concacaf, among other things, I and others agreed that I or a co-conspirator would commit at least two acts of racketeering activity. Among other things, I agreed with other persons in or around 1992 to facilitate the acceptance of a bribe in conjunction with the selection of the host nation for the 1998 World Cup.
“Beginning in or about 1993 and continuing through the early 2000s, I and others agreed to accept bribes and kickbacks in conjunction with the broadcast and other rights to the 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2003 Gold Cups. Beginning in or around 2004 and continuing through 2011, I and others on the Fifa executive committee agreed to accept bribes in conjunction with the selection of South Africa as the host nation for the 2010 World Cup. Among other things, my actions above had common participants and results.
“Between April of 2004 and May 2011, I and others who were fiduciaries to both Fifa and Concacaf, in contravention of our duties, I and others, while acting in our official capacities, agreed to participate in a scheme to defraud Fifa and Concacaf to the right to honest services by taking undisclosed bribes. I and others agreed to use e-mail, telephone and a wire transfer into and out of the United States in furtherance of the scheme. Funds procured through these improper payments passed through JFK Airport in the form of a check (cheque).
“Between December 2008 and May 2011, I and others agreed to and transmitted funds by wire transfer and cheques from places within the United States to places in the Caribbean, and from places in the Caribbean to places in the United States. I agreed to and took these actions to, among other things, promote and conceal my receipt of bribes and kickbacks. I knew that the funds involved were the proceeds of an unlawful bribe, and I and others used wires, e-mails and telephone to effectuate payment of and conceal the nature of the bribe. Funds procured through these improper payments passed through JFK airport in the form of a check (cheque).
“Between 2005 and 2010, while a resident of New York, New York, I knowingly and wilfully failed to file an income tax return and failed to pay income taxes. In this way, I intentionally concealed my true income from the IRS, thereby defrauding the IRS of income tax owed. I knew that my actions were wrong at the time.”