An apartment for cats? In the Trump Tower? The FIFA scandal and its corrupt practices were “rampant, systemic and deep rooted” according to US Attorney Loretta Lynch.
And one of the main targets has been Chuck Blazer, a man who has allegedly failed to pay taxes on $151 million of alleged bribes and kickbacks paid to the man with two Trump Tower apartments and a lot more besides.
The Guardian reports on FBI and IRS agents chasing Blazer on his mobility scooter telling him they could take him away cuffed or he could co-operate.
As The Guardian reports: Just how cooperative Blazer proved only became apparent on Wednesday, as plainclothed Swiss police acting on behalf of the FBI burst into the Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich at dawn to arrest seven other Fifa officials and reveal charges against seven further defendants.
The officials were led out of the exclusive venue used for Fifa committee meetings behind white sheets held up by hotel staff to protect them from waiting cameras. But a similar raid was already under way at the Miami headquarters of Fifa’s North American branch and no amount of money could now hide the scale of what of IRS chief Richard Weber later claimed before a press conference in New York was “the World Cup of fraud”.
Allegations of corruption and kickbacks have swirled around Fifa for decades, and the story now emerging from US prosecutors suggests they used tried-and-tested techniques designed to tackle organised crime to roll up the alleged conspiracy by leaning on witnesses to cooperate.
The detailed indictment against Blazer unsealed on Wednesday revealed they had assembled specific allegations of his involvement in bribes related to the selection of World Cup host countries going back to the early 1990s.
Facing a 20-year jail sentence just for the most serious charge of racketeering, Blazer agreed to plead guilty to a total of 10 counts – including wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering, income tax and banking offences – in the hope of more lenient treatment.
Though unconfirmed by prosecutors this week, the Daily News report suggests Blazer even agreed to secretly record future meetings with Fifa officials, allegedly carrying a recording device hidden in a keyring to London’s May Fair hotel during the 2012 Olympic Games.
But Blazer was not the only big fish to succumb to threats from prosecutors. The two adult children of Jack Warner, a former Fifa regional president and Trinidad and Tobago politician charged under this week’s indictment, were caught in equally colourful circumstances.
Source: The Guardian
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