June 17, 2015 / 10:59 PM / 2 years ago

Exclusive: FIFA's Valcke hires U.S. lawyer for corruption probe

NEW YORK (Reuters) - FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke has hired a prominent New York defense attorney in the face of corruption investigations that have roiled the world soccer body, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke speaks as he attends a news conference during his visit to the southern city of Samara, one of the 2018 World Cup host cities, Russia, June 10, 2015. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

Defense lawyer Barry Berke has been hired to represent Valcke, who is FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s top lieutenant.

Berke, a partner at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, most recently represented Michael Steinberg, a portfolio manager at Steven A. Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors hedge fund. Steinberg was sentenced last year to 3-1/2 years in prison after being convicted of engaging in insider trading.

U.S. prosecutors believe that Valcke was involved in $10 million in FIFA bank transactions that are a key part of the investigation, a source said in early June. He has not been accused of wrongdoing.

Valcke said last week that while he had signed off on the transactions he had done nothing wrong, adding that allegations against him were “insanity”.

Reuters reported earlier that Blatter has also hired a high-powered U.S. lawyer to represent him, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Reporting by Nate Raymond; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Martin Howell

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