By Andrew Warshaw
June 13 – Did they jump or were they pushed? KPMG, the international auditors who have examined FIFA’s books for more than decade, have controversially stepped down just days after being criticised for failing to spot extortionate pay increases awarded amongst themselves by Sepp Blatter and two of the senior staff under his regime.
Blatter was revealed by FIFA’s American lawyers earlier this month to have shared in an irregular $80 million bonus scheme over the last five years with ex-secretary-general Jerome Valcke and finance director Markus Kattner.
Kattner, who had also acted as deputy secretary general in recent months following the sacking of Valcke , was himself fired after 13 years’ service shortly after the scheme was made public but continues to protest his innocence saying the payments he received were completely above board and in line with FIFA’s compensation rules. Aides of Kattner insist he was thrown out because he questioned the financial undertakings of new FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
The one flaw in Quinn Emanuel’s damning report into the way in which Blatter, Valcke and Kattner paid themselves bonuses known to only a handful of staff was that KPMG would have presumably spotted anything wrong in the contracts when reviewing FIFA’s financial figures.
The fact is that despite the long-standing suspicion of corruption, FIFA had continued to be given a clean bill of health by KPMG with no-one ever challenging the authenticity of FIFA’s annual reports. However, given today’s developments, we are unlikely to get their side of the story.
In a statement, FIFA said it ”welcomes this change as it gives the organization the opportunity to work with a new audit firm.”
It also noted that in the light of ”serious allegations involving financial transactions outlined by the Swiss and US authorities, it is essential that the financial function at FIFA be externally reviewed and thoroughly reformed.”
“The appointment of a new auditor, coupled with the appointments of a new chief financial officer and a new chief compliance officer, are essential steps in this process,” FIFA said in its statement.
KPMG confirmed it had resigned, but declined further comment. It said in September it had launched an internal review of its Swiss business over audits of FIFA’s financial record keeping.
Interesting KPMG were also the auditors for the official Russia and Qatar organizing committees when they prepared the winning bids that are now part of corruption investigations.
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