Friday 28 October 2016

Daughter says Blatter victim of conspiracy to oust him

Tom Whitehead and James Titcomb

Published 01/06/2015 | 02:30

Sepp Blatter was elected Fifa president for the fifth time last week
Sepp Blatter was elected Fifa president for the fifth time last week

Fifa president Sepp Blatter is "not without fault" but he has not taken any money, his daughter claimed last night.

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Corinne Blatter (54) attempted to dismiss the Fifa corruption scandal as a "conspiracy" to stop her father being president and suggested it would be forgotten about in a few weeks.

She insisted Mr Blatter was not worried about being arrested as part of the FBI probe into football's governing body but refused to say whether he would be willing to co-operate.

Lord Macdonald, the former director of public prosecutions in England and Wales, said he expected Mr Blatter to be questioned "possibly under arrest" by the FBI, which ordered the arrests last week after a long-running undercover operation.

Mr Blatter will also be interviewed by Swiss prosecutors, who have launched a separate investigation into the controversial votes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids.

In another key development, it was reported that South African Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan had confirmed that $10m was paid to the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf) after it had been awarded the 2010 World Cup. Media in South Africa said Mr Jordaan insisted the money was not a bribe but a grant towards Concacaf's football development fund.

It was paid in 2008 when Concacaf was headed by former Fifa vice-president Jack Warner, who was one of those arrested in the FBI operation.

The reports came as three British banks launched internal reviews after accounts were used to transfer alleged corrupt payments involving Fifa officials.

Barclays, Standard Chartered and HSBC are reviewing transactions worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, which were cited by US prosecutors last week after indicting seven Fifa officials over bribery and corruption claims.

Asked whether her father was beyond fault, Ms Blatter said: "Nobody is without fault but all the things he has done so far, he's not the person who is taking money. All the money he earned, he earned it by working and he is a hard-working president.

"All these people who say that he takes money, I don't know what kind of money he should take and he's not the kind, his character is not like that, he's not taking any money."

Speaking for the first time since her father was elected Fifa president for a fifth time last week, she echoed his view that the investigation and arrests for alleged corruption were all part of a conspiracy.

She told the BBC: "I wouldn't say from the Americans and the British, but certainly people working behind the scenes, yes absolutely. I don't know if you want to call them dark forces but I mean they really tried hard, they tried in September, October last year." She added: "All these things happened just to discredit him so that he would resign. But I can tell you in about two or three weeks no one will talk about it any more.

"Other news will be top and he'll work normally, as he said yesterday at the press conference, he had a great executive meeting and everyone is going to work together. He's also the president of those who didn't vote for him and they have to work together now." As to whether her father would co-operate with investigating authorities and meet them if asked, she said: "You will have to ask him that."

The three British banks were among more than a dozen named in a 164-page indictment by the FBI but there is no allegation of any wrongdoing from the institutions.

They are, however, understood to be reviewing the transactions as a precaution to make sure they complied with anti-money laundering and "know your customer" rules.

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