Russia & Qatar Deny Bribing FIFA Officials to Secure World Cup Hosting Rights
On Monday the US Department of Justice unsealed an indictment that alleges Russia and Qatar bribed FIFA administrative committee members to acquire hosting rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, respectively.
Officials from Russia and Qatar have hit back at an indictment from the US that alleges they secured World Cup hosting rights through bribery. In a charge released on Monday, both countries were implicated during a multi-million dollar bribery scheme.
According to the US Department of Justice documents released Monday, FIFA officials received bribes to choose favor of awarding the 2018 World Cup to Russia and, therefore, the 2022 tournament to Qatar.
Qatar announced it “fully denies the accusations contained within the court papers” while Russia declared it “absolutely legally got the right” to host the 2018 global football exhibition.
The US action is linked to a wide-ranging 2015 corruption scandal that left world administration FIFA in turmoil and led to the downfall of then-president Sepp Blatter. In the ensuing years, the US government has accused a total of 45 people and various sports companies of more than 90 crimes and of paying or accepting more than $200 million in bribes.
The latest US legal action centers on two former executives of US media giant Fox who were charged with corruption, bank fraud, and money-laundering on Monday. But Federal prosecutors have further cast fresh light on the scandal-tainted bidding fight for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
The indictment said former Brazilian FIFA member Ricardo Teixeira and late Paraguayan administrator Nicolas Leoz, both members of the FIFA committee, which conferred on the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, accepted payment of bribes in exchange for voting for Qatar’s proposal.
“That’s all,” added Blatter, who presided over both bidding processes and is currently banned from football.
Also, Trinidad’s long-serving FIFA official Jack Warner “was promised and received” bribe payments totaling $5 million to vote for Russia. In comparison, Guatemala’s Rafael Salguero was promised a $1 million bribe to vote for Russia.
Salguero alleged guilty to multiple corruption charges in 2016 and was forbidden from FIFA while Warner, who faces charges within the US, is currently battling extradition to the US from his local Trinidad.
In a statement, FIFA stated it “supports all inquiries into alleged deeds of criminal wrong-doing about either domestic or international football tournaments.”
“(FIFA) will still provide full cooperation to enforcement officials investigating such matters,” it said.
“FIFA has itself been accorded victim status within the US criminal procedures, and senior FIFA officials are in constant touch with the US Department of Justice.”