Opposition asks police to investigate WCup bid, South Africa

AP , Monday 21 Sep 2015

FILE-- In this Friday, Dec. 4, 2009, photo, FIFA President Sepp Blatter, right, hands the official ball for the 2010 soccer World Cup, called Jabulani, to World Cup organising committee CEO Danny Jordaan in Cape Town (AP )

The chief organizer of South Africa's 2010 World Cup was one of two senior soccer officials named Monday in a criminal complaint alleging corruption in the FIFA vote to decide the tournament host.

South Africa's main opposition party, The Democratic Alliance, said it had filed papers with police asking them to investigate the involvement of former World Cup head Danny Jordaan and former South African Football Association President Molefi Oliphant in alleged bribery of FIFA executives to get the World Cup.

The Democratic Alliance said the two men should be investigated over a payment of $10 million by South Africa to Jack Warner, a former FIFA executive indicted by United States authorities on charges of bribery and racketeering and now facing extradition.

U.S. authorities investigating corruption at FIFA say former executive committee member Chuck Blazer admitted the money was a bribe in return for Blazer, Warner and a third FIFA executive backing South Africa in the 2004 vote. The three votes were decisive in South Africa beating Morocco.

The involvement of Jordaan, the current head of the South African Football Association, and Oliphant should be investigated, the DA said, after they both wrote letters to FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke asking that $10 million be taken off South Africa's World Cup budget from FIFA and sent to Warner.

''It thus appears that Jordaan and Oliphant were complicit with, and indeed seemingly central to, the bribery scheme described in the (U.S.) indictment and mentioned by Blazer in his guilty plea,'' the DA said in papers handed to police in Cape Town.

Oliphant, who is now a co-opted member of the Confederation of African Football's executive committee, declined to comment, telling The Associated Press he ''cannot respond'' to the allegations because he had not seen them in detail. Jordaan did not immediately reply to a message seeking comment.

The South African government has denied the 2008 payment was a bribe, describing it as money given to Warner's Caribbean region for legitimate soccer development. But the U.S. Department of Justice alleges it was payback for the three FIFA officials backing South Africa four years earlier.

There are also questions over how much FIFA's top leadership knew.

The letters from Jordaan and Oliphant, written in late 2007 and early 2008 respectively, both ask Valcke, FIFA President Sepp Blatter's deputy, to arrange for FIFA to send the $10 million to Warner.

In June, FIFA said Valcke was not responsible for making the bank transfer to Warner and it was done by the world body's finance committee chairman at the time, Julio Grondona. Grondona died last year.

Valcke was suspended by FIFA last week over unrelated accusations involving black market tickets for the 2014 World Cup.

FIFA President Blatter also attended a meeting with then-South Africa President Thabo Mbeki in 2007 over the $10 million. Blatter was only being updated by Mbeki over the decision to give $10 million to Warner, FIFA said, and was not involved.

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