The lawyers representing the world’s football governing body FIFA have brought forth a claim that Sepp Blatter, Jerome Valcke and Markus Kattner wrongly profited by $80m (£55m) from the organisation in the past five years.
Sepp Blatter was FIFA’s former president, Jerome Valcke was the former secretary general and Markus Kattner was the former deputy secretary general.
According to investigators, the three allegedly enriched themselves with a series of salary increases, bonuses and incentives in the past five years, some of which broke the law.
Blatter was banned from football for eight years – reduced to six years on appeal – for paying Michel Platini £1.3m in a ‘disloyal payment’, Valcke was banned from all football-related activities for 12 years for a string of offences relating to World Cup tickets and television rights plus the use of a private jet for personal reasons and Kattner’s contract with FIFA was terminated on 23 May for breaches of “fiduciary duty” – paying himself bonuses.
Bill Burck, a partner with Quinn Emanuel, the lawyers appointed to conduct the investigation had this to say;
“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 79m [£55m] – in just the last five years,”
Meanwhile, a statement from FIFA read:
“It is clear that the preliminary findings indicate that the payments and contracts warrant considerable further investigation. FIFA has shared this information with the Office of the Swiss Attorney General and it will brief the U.S. Department of Justice on the matters as well.”
The FIFA statement goes on to reveal that;
“It is clear that there isn’t just one contract for each official. There are multiple amendments to contracts often approved in close sequence. Additionally, these various contracts were often entered into by Messers Blatter, Valcke and Mr Kattner on the very same day. And more importantly, these dates were very ominous.”
The Swiss Attorney General confirmed that they had already carried out a raid on FIFA headquarters on Thursday. the investigators also furnish us with examples, pointing to eight-and-a-half-year contract extensions given to Valcke and Kattner in 2011, shortly before Blatter was facing a serious challenge in his bid to be re-elected president from Mohamed Bin Hammam.
Valcke and Kattner had also been given overly generous severance terms, guaranteeing them full payment if Sepp Blatter failed to be re-elected and they lost their jobs. The investigators claim that these contracts contained clauses which were illegal under Swiss law.
Again according to the investigators, Blatter, Valcke and Kattner received a combined total of £16m in bonuses four months after the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, despite the absence of any bonus clauses relating to the tournament being in their contract.
That was aside the awarded £9.7m to Valcke and Kattner in bonuses relating to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil in 2011 and a combined £10.8m in bonuses relating to the 2018 World Cup in Russia that Blatter, Valcke and Kattner were made eligible for in 2014.