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    A picture taken on November 19, 2010 in Zurich shows FIFA president Sepp Blatter leaving a news conference following an executive committee meeting

    Amid Scandal, Ex-FIFA Execs ‘Illegally’ Awarded Themselves $80 Million

    © AFP 2019 / FABRICE COFFRINI
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    Three former high-ranking FIFA authorities – ex-President Sepp Blatter and ex-Secretaries General Jerome Valcke and Markus Kattner – awarded themselves an estimated $80 million in secret annual pay raises and illegal bonuses.

    According to law firm Quinn Emanuel, acting on FIFA's behalf, the three former highest-ranking officials of the sports organization paid themselves a enormous amount of money during their last five years in office, violating several Swiss laws.

    "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 79m Swiss francs in just the last five years," said Quinn Emanuel representative Bill Burck.

    Evidence was obtained after police raided FIFA offices, including office of Markus Kattner, FIFA's German deputy secretary general, who was fired last week.

    Criminal proceedings were opened by a Swiss court against Blatter and Valcke in September 2015 and March 2016, respectively. Both men are banned from participating in the organization for 6 and 12 years, respectively, by the FIFA ethics committee.

    According to the new evidence, Blatter and Valcke conspired with Kattner to enrich themselves through a variety of methods, including extending contracts on terms that violate Swiss law; in particular, Valcke and Kattner's contracts obliged FIFA to pay them generous compensations — some $17 million and $10 million, respectively — if their employment was terminated, even if it was terminated via a legal procedure.

    The conspirators also rewarded themselves for the upcoming 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2022 event in Qatar. In 2010, they rewarded themselves after the World Championship in South Africa, with no legal basis, according to lawyers.

    The news comes at a time when FIFA is struggling to clear its name under the new presidency of Gianni Infantino. These efforts, however, are already severely undermined, as Infantino faces scrutiny in the Panama Papers leak, which revealed that the new FIFA president sold rights to a TV broadcasting firm to a company called Cross Trading, who in turn sold the rights to Teleamazonas, a company owned by Hugo Jinkis, who was indicted in the United States in May as part of an alleged £100 million fraud.

    Infantino denies the corruption allegations, stating FIFA is not interested in what happens to its employees' broadcasting rights after they have been sold.

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    Tags:
    corruption scandal, Corruption, 2022 FIFA World Cup, 2018 FIFA World Cup, 2010 FIFA World Cup, UEFA, FIFA, Markus Kattner, Jerome Valcke, Joseph Blatter, Switzerland
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