World anti-money laundering body deletes FIFA-related warning

Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:26pm EDT
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By Mark Hosenball and Brett Wolf

London (Reuters) - A world anti-money laundering body has deleted all trace of an alert it issued last week warning that financial institutions had not done enough to police suspicious financial activity by officials at FIFA, soccer's global governing body.

The alert, on the website of the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force, was originally posted on June 16, almost three weeks after U.S. authorities indicted nine current and former FIFA officials and five business executives on a series of corruption charges, including bribery, money laundering and wire fraud.

In the statement, FATF said that "recent reports about alleged corruption and money laundering activities on a large scale by several high-ranking FIFA officials underscore how important it is that financial institutions identify and monitor high-risk customers."

FATF, an inter-governmental group whose members include national anti-money laundering agencies around the world, added that financial institutions "do not appear to have given a sufficient amount of scrutiny to the financial activities of the officials concerned, as many of these allegedly corruption-related transfers passed through the international financial system undetected."

Reuters first learned of the FATF notice from a European official familiar with FIFA investigations, and located it on Saturday through a Google search, though when the search engine on FATF's own website was queried, the FIFA notice did not appear.

On Monday morning, the URL which initially brought up the FIFA notice on Google instead produced a "not found" notice.


The logo of soccer's international governing body FIFA is seen on its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, May 27, 2015.  REUTERS/Ruben Sprich