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FIFA email connects Sepp Blatter to $10M, newspaper claims

FIFA email connects Sepp Blatter to $10M, newspaper claims
 A 2007 email shows FIFA President Sepp Blatter and then-South African President Thabo Mbeki held "discussions" over USD 10 million that ultimately went to allegedly corrupt soccer executives as payback for supporting the country's World Cup bid, a newspaper claimed on Sunday.

South Africa's Sunday Times reported that the email from FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke to the South African government asks when the USD 10 million will be transferred.

The newspaper said that in the email, which was not published, Valcke wrote that the USD 10 million was "based on discussions between FIFA and the South African government, and also between our President (Blatter) and President Thabo Mbeki." American investigators alleged in their indictment into corruption in world soccer that the USD 10 million went to Jack Warner, who is currently under arrest, as payback for him and two other senior FIFA executives voting for South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup.

It was wired from FIFA to accounts controlled by Warner in three payments in early 2008, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

FIFA and the South African government have said it was money given legitimately by South Africa through FIFA to help soccer development in Warner's Caribbean region. Mbeki's office denied any involvement in bribes in a statement when the FIFA corruption scandal broke.

FIFA didn't immediately respond to a written request from The Associated Press for comment on the purported 2007 email from Valcke. Mbeki's spokesman, Mukoni Ratshitanga, referred the AP to the earlier statement denying the South African government's involvement in any bribes when Mbeki was president.

Described as money for soccer development, the South African cash ended up going directly to former FIFA vice president Warner of Trinidad and American Chuck Blazer, both then members of FIFA's executive committee, according to the DOJ. Blazer has admitted to receiving bribes in connection with the 2004 vote that resulted in South Africa becoming the first African nation to host the World Cup. 

Warner is one of 14 soccer and marketing officials indicted and under arrest on corruption charges, which include racketeering, bribery and money laundering  Blatter announced he was quitting as FIFA president last week with the world soccer body rocked by the biggest scandal in its 111-year history. 

The 79-year-old Blatter has not been specifically implicated in the Justice Department investigation. In Valcke's email, which is dated Dec. 7, 2007, according to the Sunday Times, he refers to the USD 10 million as a commitment "to the legacy programme for the diaspora and specifically the Caribbean countries" and says it stems from talks between Blatter and Mbeki, who was president at the time of South Africa's successful World Cup bid. He left office in 2008. 

Valcke's email pre-dates correspondence from then-chief South African World Cup organizer Danny Jordaan and then-South African Football Association president Molefi Oliphant asking FIFA to shave USD 10 million off South Africa's World Cup budget to send to Warner's regional soccer body. In Oliphant's letter, he twice asks for the USD 10 million to be controlled specifically by Warner.South Africa won the World Cup by beating Morocco 14-10 in a vote of FIFA's ruling panel of executives in Zurich in 2004. The U.S. DOJ alleges that <g data-gr-id="41">vote</g> was completely corrupted, with Warner, Blazer and an unnamed senior South American FIFA official agreeing to take bribes to back South Africa. A Moroccan bid official also attempted to bribe Warner with USD 1 million, the DOJ alleged in its indictment documents.  

Egypt ex-minister says FIFA’s Warner asked for $7m bribe 
Former FIFA <g data-gr-id="108">vice president</g> Jack Warner asked Egypt to pay a USD 7-million bribe in exchange for seven votes to host the 2010 World Cup, a former Egyptian minister alleged on Sunday.
Former minister of youth and sports, Aley <g data-gr-id="107">Eddine</g> Helal, told AFP that Warner, who is now at the heart of a corruption scandal engulfing football’s world governing body, asked for the money in 2004.
“Warner was the one who approached us from FIFA. He said he could guarantee us seven votes... He asked for one million dollars for each vote,” Helal claimed. Egypt, one of African football’s most dominant countries, was a candidate to host the 2010 World Cup, but it received no votes in the 2004 FIFA ballot. South Africa was chosen to host the tournament. “We didn’t pay any bribes. That was one of the reasons why we didn’t get any votes,” Youssef el-Dahshori, who was Egyptian Football Association president at the time said. Warner introduced himself in 2003 during <g data-gr-id="127">a FIFA</g> congress held in Qatar and proposed a meeting, Dahshori said. “I met Warner in the UAE. He proposed to be Egypt’s consultant in Latin America and <g data-gr-id="131">Europe,</g> since he has good connections there.” “He wanted to take seven million dollars for seven votes, and said he wouldn’t take the money for himself but for developing the sport in Latin America,” said Dahshori, stressing that he had refused Warner’s offer.Warner was indicted by the United States for allegedly taking a USD 10 million bribe to help South Africa win the race to host the 2010 World Cup, among other charges. FIFA admitted last Tuesday that it had processed a 10 million payment from S Africa to Warner, who is one of 14 people facing charges of involvement in more than USD 150 million of bribes to soccer officials. 

Qatar to be stripped of 2022 World Cup: FIFA whistleblower
London: Qatar <g data-gr-id="150">are</g> likely be stripped of the 2022 World Cup, according to <g data-gr-id="152">a FIFA</g> whistleblower who was a former senior figure in the country's bid team. Phaedra <g data-gr-id="149">Almajid</g>, who turned whistleblower to expose graft, has said the abundance of evidence of wrongdoing of Qatar's bid would force world football's governing body FIFA to strip the Gulf country of the responsibility.

<g data-gr-id="148">Almajid</g>, an Arab-American worked for Qatar's 2022 bid team till early 2010. Qatar shocked the world by winning the right to stage the 2022 event.


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