Blatter and Valcke hire top lawyers as scandal deepens

Blatter and Valcke hire top lawyers as scandal deepens
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Published June 19th, 2015 - 15:03 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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Jérôme Valcke
Jérôme Valcke

Fifa's beleaguered president Sepp Blatter and his deputy Jérôme Valcke have both hired expensive US lawyers as the corruption scandal engulfing world football's governing body continues to deepen.

Blatter, who intends to stand down as president at an emergency Fifa congress in December, has hired Richard Cullen, a former federal prosecutor. Valcke, Fifa's secretary general, who is alleged to have authorised a $10m bribe paid by South African football officials to Jack Warner, the disgraced former head of North American and Caribbean football, has hired prominent New York defence lawyer Barry Berke.

Neither has been charged, accused or even questioned in either of the two separate investigations under way into fraud and money-laundering at Fifa and its continental confederations.

But with the Swiss attorney general's office investigating 53 possible instances of money-laundering in the bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, and the US Department of Justice promising further legal action on top of the 14 individuals it indicted three weeks ago, their decision to consult US lawyers is an intriguing development.

The Swiss inquiry means Fifa's own report into corruption, by US lawyer Michael Garcia, is unlikely to be published for several years. Blatter promised at Fifa's executive committee in December that the report would be published, the day after Garcia resigned in protest saying a summary of his report, written by the head of Fifa's ethics committee, German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, was misleading.

Two men named on the US attorney general's indictment, the Argentinian father and son Hugo and Mariano Jinkis, handed themselves in at a federal courthouse in Buenos Aires yesterday. They are alleged to have paid and facilitated millions of dollars of bribes and kickbacks in return for marketing rights to South American tournaments.

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