FBI probes Blatter bribe scandal role

Dec 06, 2015, 5:52 PM EST

The FBI is investigating the role played by Fifa president Sepp Blatter in a $100m (£66.2m) bribes scandal, a BBC investigation has discovered.

Sports marketing company ISL paid a total of $100m to officials including former Fifa president Joao Havelange and ex-Fifa executive Ricardo Teixeira. In return, ISL was granted lucrative television and marketing rights throughout the 1990s.

Blatter denied knowing about the bribes and took no action. He even allowed Teixeira to take part in the notorious vote for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Panorama reporter Andrew Jennings has seen a letter obtained by America's Federal Bureau of Investigation which casts doubt on Blatter's denial. The letter, apparently written by Havelange, talks about the payments he received from ISL.

It says Blatter had "full knowledge of all activities" and was "always apprised" of them.

The letter is included in an FBI request to the Swiss authorities for help with their investigation. They ask for the file of an earlier Swiss investigation into the ISL bribes and they say "among other things, the prosecutor is investigating Havelange's statements implicating Blatter".

In 2010, Blatter suppressed a Swiss legal finding that both Havelange and Teixeria had received bribes from ISL. In 2013, Blatter told a Fifa ethics committee inquiry he was unaware of the bribery. He was cleared of any wrongdoing.