Saturday 4 June 2016

Sepp Blatter, Other, Wrongly Profited By £55m From FIFA

FIFA's lawyers claim Sepp Blatter, Jerome Valcke and Markus Kattner wrongly profited by £55m from the organisation in the past five years. According to investigators Former FIFA president Blatter, former secretary general Valcke and former deputy secretary general Kattner enriched themselves with a series of salary increases, bonuses and incentives, some of which broke the law.

A statement from American lawyer Richard Cullen on behalf of Blatter said “We look forward to showing FIFA that Mr. Blatter's compensation payments were proper, fair and in line with the heads of major professional sports leagues around the world”. It is claimed bonuses connected to the Russia World Cup 2018 were paid - even though the tournament does not take place for another two years.
Bill Burck, a partner with Quinn Emanuel, the lawyers appointed to conduct the investigation said 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 totalling more than CHF 79m [£55m] - in just the last five years

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”. 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”.

As examples, the investigators point 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 were also given generous severance terms that guaranteed them full payment in case their employment with FIFA was terminated, which was likely had Blatter not be re-elected.

According to the investigators, Blatter, Valcke and Kattner, also 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.

In 2011, it is claimed Valcke and Kattner were awarded a combined £9.7m in bonuses relating to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and Blatter received £8.4m. And in 2014 Blatter, Valcke and Kattner were made eligible for a combined £10.8m in bonuses relating to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The payments, effectively signed off by the three men themselves, went through the payroll and HR departments at FIFA but not the legal department.

German Kattner's contract with FIFA was terminated on 23 May for breaches of fiduciary duty - paying himself bonuses. Blatter, 80, was banned from football for eight years - reduced to six years on appeal - for paying Michel Platini £1.3m in a disloyal payment. Blatter denies wrongdoing and says he will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to clear his name.

In February this year, Frenchman 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.

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