Ex-FIFA president Joao Havelange
and his former son-in-law Ricardo Teixeira took multi-million
dollar bribes on World Cup deals, Swiss prosecutors said in a
legal document released on Wednesday, dealing a fresh blow to
world football's ruling body.
The two Brazilian football administrators were named for the
first time in a case which has its roots in the 1990s but will
add to the pressure on FIFA to show it is cleaning up its act.
The document, issued by the prosecutor's office in the Swiss
region of Zug, noted that both Teixeira and FIFA's legal
representative had denied any criminal conduct. Havelange did
not comment on the accusation of criminal conduct, it added.
Havelange, a Brazilian who was head of FIFA from 1974 to
1998, received a payment of 1.5 million Swiss francs ($1.53
million) in March 1997 from now-defunct sports marketing body
ISL, the Swiss prosecutors said.
ISL sold the commercial rights to broadcast World Cup
competitions on behalf of FIFA. It collapsed with debts of
around $300 million in 2001.
Teixeira, who led the Brazilian Football Confederation from
1989 until stepping down earlier this year, took 12.7 million
francs between 1992 and 1997, the prosecutors said.
Released after pressure from a number of media groups, the
document gave details of a Swiss criminal case which was dropped
in May 2010 after Havelange and Teixeira agreed to pay
Havelange, who is 96 and has been suffering from poor
health, and Teixeira have been two of the leading figures in
Brazilian sports administration for decades.
The two men could not immediately be reached for comment on
FIFA issued a statement welcoming the release of the
documents and noting that Havelange's successor, Sepp Blatter,
was not involved in the case.
However, the documents raise questions over how FIFA handled
corruption in its ranks, saying the organisation was aware its
officials had taken bribes.
"The finding that FIFA had knowledge of the bribery payments
to persons within its organs is not questioned," said the
FIFA had been rocked by a series of corruption allegations
in recent years which have led to the departure of five of its
executive committee members including Teixeira.
Brazil are the only country to have won the World Cup five
times and will host the tournament in 2014, while Rio stages the
Summer Olympics two years later.
"With the constant feeding that took place over several
years, the services of not just Joao Havelange but also those of
Ricardo Terra Teixeira were bought," the prosecutors said.
"The latter was the son-in-law of Joao Havelange - a
circumstance from which the ISMM/ISL Group hoped, without doubt,
to achieve appropriate benefits," it added.
Teixeira, who has had a series of disputes with Brazilian
soccer idol Pele, stepped down in March from his role as head of
the organising committee for the 2014 World Cup and his role as
head of the football federation.
Havelange resigned from the International Olympic Committee
last December, days before an ethics hearing into his conduct in
the ISL affair.
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