FBI Investigating Sepp Blatter For Involvement In $100 Million ISL Bribery Scandal
In the 1990s, Swiss sports marketing firm ISL paid $100 million worth of bribes to various FIFA officials, including former FIFA president Joao Havelange and his then-son-in-law, Ricardo Teixeira. In exchange, ISL received marketing and media rights to a number of soccer events at bargain basement prices.
These bribes were uncovered in 2006 by BBC reporter Andrew Jennings. In 2012, a FIFA investigation concluded that Havelange and Teixeira personally collected $40 million in ISL bribes. However, Swiss authorities declined to prosecute Havelange because he was 96 years old and had paid back $500,000.
That same 2012 FIFA investigation also concluded that Havelange’s successor, Sepp Blatter, was “clumbsy” for not realizing Havelange and Teixeira were taking bribes, but that he did not actually know about it or actively help them cover it up. But nobody really believed this.
Last week, finally Teixeira was taken into custody in the round of FIFA arrests.
Now Andrew Jennings is reporting that the FBI has been investigating Sepp Blatter’s involvement in the ISL bribery scandal for over seven months, before the stunning FIFA arrests back in May. And apparently they have a letter, written by Havelange, explaining that Sepp Blatter had “full knowledge of all activities” related to the ISL bribes and was “always apprised” of any developments.
Both Jennings and The Guardian have seen the letter. It was sent by the FBI to swiss authorities in a request for additional files from their ISL investigation. And it would appear to be the proverbial smoking gun.
Keep in mind, all this is in relation to something that happened over 15 years ago. Swiss authorities are still investigating Sepp Blatter for his involvement in the Qatar World Cup bribery scandal.
Blatter, by the way, is technically still president of FIFA until February. However, in September FIFA finally decided to suspend Blatter for 90 days due to all the allegations.
His temporary replacement? Well, he’s not doing so hot, but at least he hasn’t been accused of taking millions of dollars in bribes yet.