Wednesday, 6 April 2016
Fifa President Gianni Infantino Pulled Into Corruption Scandal - Read Details
The new head of world football has been caught up in the sport’s corruption scandal because of documents that have been revealed by the Panama Papers leak.
Files seen by the Guardian will raise questions about the role Fifa’s president, Gianni Infantino, played in deals that were concluded when he was director of legal services at Uefa, European football’s governing body.
According to records, Uefa concluded offshore deals with one of the indicted figures at the heart of an alleged “World Cup of fraud” despite previously insisting it had no dealings with any of them.
The emergence of the contracts from 2003 and 2006, which were co-signed by Infantino, link Uefa for the first time to one of the companies involved in the huge unfolding scandal that has brought down former Fifa president Sepp Blatter.
Uefa has denied any wrongdoing by any of its officials or any other marketing partner.
It said the contracts were all above board. Fifa has previously insisted Infantino had no dealings with any of the officials currently under investigation – or their companies. Infantino said he was “dismayed” by the reports and “will not accept that my integrity is being doubted”.
The disclosures are based on the leak of 11m documents from the files of the offshore financial law firm Mossack Fonseca, which were obtained by Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with the Guardian and other news organisations.
Infantino is the Swiss-Italian former Uefa secretary general who won the race to succeed the disgraced Blatter in February. The files show that in 2006, when he worked at Uefa, the organisation sold the rights for broadcasting its club competitions in South America.
The rights to the Champions League, the Uefa Cup and the Super Cup were acquired by an Argentinian company called Cross Trading. Cross Trading immediately sold on to broadcaster Teleamazonas for about three or four times the amount paid for them. The contracts covered the period from 2003 to 2006 and from 2006 to 2009.
Cross Trading is a subsidiary of a company called Full Play, which is owned by Hugo Jinkis. Last year in an unrelated matter, Jinkis was alleged by US prosecutors to have handed over millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks to football executives to obtain and retain media and marketing rights.
Jinkis, along with his son Mariano, is under house arrest in Argentina.
Jinkis’s involvement in the deals with Uefa from a decade ago are set out in the Panama Papers. Cross Trading signed a deal with Uefa’s broadcasting and marketing partner, called Team. Infantino’s name appears on the contract as Uefa’s director of legal services.
Culled from the Guardian