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Blatter faces FIFA

Chuck PenfoldSeptember 9, 2016

FIFA has launched formal proceedings against its banned former president, Sepp Blatter, as well as two other former officials. The three are facing a number of allegations, including bribery and corruption.

FIFA Präsident Joseph S. Blatter
Image: Getty Images/P. Schmidli

FIFA's Ethics Committee has opened a formal investigation against Joseph "Sepp" Blatter, Jerome Valcke and Markus Kattner, according to a statement released by the Committee's investigatory chamber on Friday.

The chamber is looking into possible violations of FIFA's Code of Ethics (FCE). These include possible violations of the FCE's articles related to the offering and accepting of gifts and other benefits, bribery and corruption, loyalty, and conflicts of interest.

It said the allegations were linked to salaries and bonuses paid to all three men. The statement added that the investigatory chamber would also look into a possible breach of confidentiality by Kattner, who is FIFA's former acting secretary general and director of finance and corporate services.

Football bans in effect

FIFA has already banned Blatter, 80, from all football-related activities over a dubious payment made to former UEFA president Michel Platini in 2011. In February, FIFA's appeals committee reduced his ban from eight years to six.

Valcke, a former FIFA secretary general, had his 12-year ethics ban for various charges of financial misconduct reduced to 10 years on appeal.

FIFA sacked Kattner last May for what it termed "breaches of his fiduciary responsibilities in connection with his employment."

'Coordinated effort to enrich themselves'

Just days later, in early June, a US law firm hired by FIFA to conduct an internal investigation said it had uncovered evidence that Blatter, Valcke and Kattner had paid themselves tens of millions of Swiss francs in bonuses.

"The evidence appears to reveal a coordinated effort by three top officials of FIFA to enrich themselves through annual salary increases, World Cup bonuses and other incentives totaling more than 79 million Francs (72 million euros, $81 million) in just the last five years," Bill Burck of the law firm Quinn Emanuel said at the time.

Friday's statement said that all three men are presumed innocent until proven guilty and added that the investigatory chamber would not publish any further details at this time. All three have previously denied any wrongdoing.

Webb gets life ban

In a separate case, former FIFA vice-president Jeffrey Webb was given a life ban from any football-related activities on Friday and fined one million Swiss francs (915,000 euros, $1.02 million).

The former president of CONCACAF, the confederation covering North and Central America and the Caribbean, has pleaded guilty in the United States to offences linked to racketeering, fraud and money laundering.

FIFA's ethics committee underwent an investigation in to the Cayman Islander and found he was guilty of breaking ethics violations, including bribery and corruption.