The secret insider the FBI utilised to aid indict higher-level FIFA officials himself admitted to having taken bribes from two countries in their push to host the Planet Cup, according to newly-released court documents.
Charles Blazer, an American ex-FIFA executive committee member-turned-government informant, pleaded guilty back in November 2013 to charges of tax evasion and fraud. These days the Justice Department released documents relating to Blazer’s plea that spell out how he got his hands on dirty income long before he helped the FBI clean up the game.
Blazer also admitted to “accept[ing] bribes and kickbacks in conjunction with broadcast” for various other tournaments and he stated he “and others on the FIFA executive committee agreed to accept bribes in conjunction with the selection of South Africa as the host nation for the 2010 Globe Cup.”
The South Africa deal – in which the African nation allegedly promised $10 million to three FIFA executives for their votes – was revealed when the bigger FIFA scandal broke final week. But today’s documents show it was Blazer who at some point received $750,000 for his portion in the scheme. Last week the South African government denied wrongdoing, saying its audit report following the games was “clean.”
Blazer’s cooperation with authorities appears to have been important in the arrest of quite a few higher-level FIFA officials in late Could. Indictments filed against 14 individuals, nine of them FIFA or ex-FIFA officials, repeatedly mention activities involving “Co-Conspirator #1.” Whilst Blazer is not named in those indictments, Blazer’s personal criminal information document describes him in the same meetings and taking the identical actions as the indictment’s “Co-Conspirator #1.”
U.S. officials previously told ABC News that following he flipped, Blazer went as far as to record conversations with other soccer officials.
All round, U.S. Justice Department officials say the corruption they’ve uncovered amounted to some $150 million in bribes and kickbacks.
The unsealing of Blazer’s deal comes a day soon after embattled FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who was not charged with any crimes, announced he would be stepping aside. Following much more than a decade of allegations of corruption and controversy for FIFA below his watch, Blatter won a fifth presidential election just final week.
Sources familiar with the case told ABC News Tuesday that Blatter is being investigated by the FBI and U.S. prosecutors as portion of the probe that led to final week’s stunning indictments.