“Beginning in or about 1993 and continuing through the early 2000s, I and others agreed to accept bribes and kickbacks in conjunction with the broadcast and other rights to the 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2003 Gold Cups, ” was the shocking admission admission made by Chuck Blazer, a former top official of FIFA’s executive committee from 1997-2013.
He appears to have worked for a sustained period of time as an FBI informant, collecting evidence now at the heart of the emerging prosecution. During the 2012 London Olympics, Blazer is said to have secretly recorded meetings with several Fifa colleagues using a key with a hidden microphone.
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“Among other things, I agreed with other persons in or around 1992 to facilitate the acceptance of a bribe in conjunction with the selection of the host nation for the 1998 World Cup, ” Blazer told Judge Raymond J. Dearie when he entered his plea in 2013 in United States District Court in Brooklyn. Blazer also admitted that he and other members of the all-powerful executive committee were bribed in return for voting for South Africa’s bid for the 2010 World Cup.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who ran the governing body since 1998, won another term for president of the organization and then suddenly resigned six days after the indictments were unsealed and four days after he was elected to a fifth term. A new president will be chosen by FIFA’s 209 member nations and territories, likely between December and March.
Blazer, nicknamed “Mr. Ten Percent” after the personal commission he demanded for his facilitation of corporate deals, much of which was concealed in offshore accounts, forfeited over $1.9 million at the time of his pleas to racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, income tax evasion and failure to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts. He agreed to pay a second amount to be determined at the time of sentencing.
Blazer is now known to have abused his position to fund an extraordinarily lavish lifestyle, with two apartments in New York’s Trump Tower – one reputedly for his cats. Between 2005 and 2010, he did not even file income tax returns with the US Internal Revenue Service.