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FIFA Says Top Soccer Officials Paid Themselves $80M

  • VOA News

FILE - Sepp Blatter, who was FIFA president at the time, speaks during the preliminary draw for the 2018 World Cup in St. Petersburg, Russia, July 25, 2015.

FILE - Sepp Blatter, who was FIFA president at the time, speaks during the preliminary draw for the 2018 World Cup in St. Petersburg, Russia, July 25, 2015.

Soccer's international governing body said Friday that its former president and two other top officials had awarded themselves pay raises and bonuses worth $80 million over five years.

FIFA attorneys said Sepp Blatter, former secretary general Jerome Valcke and former finance director Markus Kattner made "a coordinated effort" to "enrich themselves" from 2011 to 2015.

FIFA released details of its internal investigation a day after police raided the organization's Zurich headquarters to seize evidence for a Swiss investigation into the circumstances surrounding the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Suspected of criminal mismanagement of FIFA funds, Blatter and Valcke were banned for six and 12 years, respectively, by the governing body's ethics committee in February. Both denied wrongdoing.

"We look forward to showing FIFA that Mr. Blatter's compensation payments were proper, fair and in line with the heads of major professional sports leagues around the world,'' Richard Cullen, Blatter's U.S. attorney, said in a statement.

It is not clear whether the compensation that was awarded broke any laws, but FIFA said the payments appeared to break Swiss law.

FIFA said it had shared the findings of its investigation with the Swiss attorney general's office and would brief the U.S. Department of Justice.

FIFA has been in turmoil since May 2015, when a U.S. investigation exposed what was alleged to be widespread corruption at the top of the organization.

Several FIFA officials and corporate executives were indicted in New York on charges of racketeering conspiracy and corruption, involving kickbacks and bribes.

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