UK fraud office receives new money laundering details in FIFA investigation

Tue Oct 27, 2015 1:54pm EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's fraud office has received new information about money laundering as part of its investigation into soccer's world governing body FIFA, the head of the agency said on Tuesday.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said in May it was examining information relating to possible corruption at the governing body after the United States charged FIFA officials with fraud, bribery and money laundering.

Giving an update on the UK investigation to a committee of British lawmakers, SFO director David Green said the agency was still examining issues around possible money laundering but that he did not think it could examine FIFA under bribery laws.

"We are still examining issues around possible money laundering," he said. "I can’t yet go into detail about that but there are several aspects to it and some new information has come to us quite recently."

Green said that a 500,000 Australian dollar payment from the Australia 2022 World Cup bid committee to former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner in Trinidad and Tobago had been looked at, after claims that the money may have been routed through London.

"I cannot confirm that money went through London, it certainly started off in Sydney and appears to have ended up in Trinidad," he said.

"It could be money laundering, yes. Whether the money came through London is important," he added, noting the issue of jurisdiction.

"There are outstanding matters which touch upon money laundering. There are a number of matters we are still looking at," said Green.

Green said the SFO was aware that American Chuck Blazer, who has been indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice and pleaded guilty to various corruption charges, had been in London in July and August 2012 and met with "members of the FIFA family".   Continued...

Journalists are reflected in FIFA's logo as they wait during an extraordinary meeting of the FIFA Executive Committee in front of FIFA's headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland October 20, 2015.    REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann