By Andrew Warshaw
October 31 – The murky business of World Cup bidding has been thrust back into the spotlight by leaked emails which claim to offer a blueprint of how Russia could bribe FIFA’s most senior officials to vote for them to stage the 2018 tournament.
Russia has long maintained that at the time of the Garcia inquiry into the voting process for 2018 and 2022 World Cups its computers were destroyed. But the investigative news website The Insider has now re-opened the entire issue almost 18 months after the country staged a hugely successful World Cup.
Hacked emails have now surfaced which purportedly came from the account of Sergei Kapkov, a former Russian politician and head of the country’s National Academy of Football Fund.
The emails are reported to contain dossiers with instructions on how to bribe every member of the then FIFA executive committee including Franz Beckenbauer and Michel Platini. According to screenshots published by The Insider, they claim a Russian organising committee executive sent the dossier to three officials – including Kapkov.
“Beckenbauer’s adviser Fedor Radmann offers his vote for a generous reward for consultation services,” the dossier is reported to read.
Another attachment apparently names €3 million as Radmann’s consultation fee and €1.5 million more for Russia’s winning bid while the file on Platini, who has just completed a four-year unrelated FIFA ban, is said to provide various options on how to influence the former UEFA president and would-be head of FIFA.
The files also include a raft of others FIFA bigwigs, most of whom have since either retired, been voted out of office, brought down by the subsequent FifaGate scandal or died. They include one-time Argentinian FIFA vice-president Julio Grondona, former African football chief Issa Hayatou, Jack Warner – football’s most wanted man who is fighting extradition from Trinidad to the United States on corruption charges – and the late Chuck Blazer, the disgraced whistleblower in the FifaGate scandal who was first to confess to taking millions in bribes.
Warner, the leaked emails are said to allege, would “vote for whoever offered the most”.
There is no evidence in the documents, dated March, 2010 – nine months before the vote took place – that any bribes actually took place but the revelations will heap even more suspicion on the entire bid process.
Beckenbauer, under investigation for alleged wrongdoing over Germany’s successful 2006 World Cup bid, has not apparently responded to the claims but Radmann’s lawyer is quoted as saying the allegations are “inaccurate, and Mr Radmann clearly rejects this”.
Alexei Sorokin, the public face of Russia’s 2018 organizing committee who has always insisted the bid was entirely clean, dismissed the report as fake.
“To me, all of this looks fabricated from start to finish,” Sorokin, a FIFA Council member, told the RBC news website. “Why should a bidding committee employee write anything to [then-lawmaker Sergei] Kapkov? Kapkov took no part in the bidding activity.
“All our ‘pressure’ was [exerted] in open contacts and we have repeatedly answered all sorts of questions on this matter, including during the official investigation.”
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