Investigating bribes and kickbacks paid to FIFA officials
I had known for years that a one million Swiss francs bribe from the ISL Marketing company to one of FIFA’s most senior officials had been sent, by mistake, to FIFA House in the winter of 1997-8.
Blatter had banned me from FIFA press conferences so I could never get near enough to ask him who got the money.
Then, early in 2004, I infiltrated an African Nations Championships press conference in Tunis. (Sitting next to Blatter was then FIFA general Secretary, Urs Linsi who later departed with $6.8 million dollars hush money after only five years in the post.)
A German TV company turned on its cameras on me – and Blatter.
In 2006 BBC Panorama took up the question in a programme called ‘The Beautiful Bung.’ (English slang for a bribe) I waited in the bushes, knowing that Blatter would eventually walk by.
Then Blatter’s press chief Markus Siegler came out and told me that I was still banned. They positioned FIFA officials at every doorway, fearing we might force our way. This was silly, only reflecting their guilt and paranoia. At one entrance I spotted longtime FIFA mouthpiece Andreas Herren. Standing silently was his colleague John Schumacher.
A few weeks later, we tried again at a FIFA press conference . . . Blatter ran away, Urs Linsi was outraged and Markus Siegler became hysterical.
As our investigations continued we learned that Swiss police were investigating documented allegations that Blatter had used FIFA money to repay the bribes.