An internal investigation of world football’s governing body, Fifa, has detailed wrongdoing beyond the corruption alleged last year by US prosecutors, according to Bloomberg.
The news agency, citing a person familiar with the information, said the new details could lead to fresh charges should authorities in the US and Switzerland choose to pursue them. Some of the findings reportedly relate to Fifa commercial contracts and alleged bribes paid by former officials.
The findings, which Bloomberg said could be presented to Fifa’s top leadership before the end of the month, are set to add to the turmoil surrounding the organisation following the start of the current process back in May 2015.
The law firm conducting the internal investigation, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, is said to have so far charged Fifa more than $30m (€27.9m). The internal probe started shortly after the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) announced charges against several senior football officials in May 2015 and alleged widespread corrupt behaviour spanning more than two decades.
The DoJ charged around 40 individuals and companies with offences including racketeering, wire fraud and money-laundering conspiracy. The indictment outlined bribery and kickback schemes related to media and sponsorship rights worth more than $200m.
Swiss prosecutors also commenced investigations into Fifa, which is headquartered in Zurich, after the US charges. They involve former Fifa president Sepp Blatter, who has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
In December, Blatter lost a bid to overturn a six-year ban imposed by football’s global governing body after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) dismissed his appeal.
Blatter led Fifa for 17 years before resigning in June 2015, after it emerged that a number of key football officials, including several former Fifa Executive Committee members, were indicted in the US on corruption charges.
Although Blatter was not one of those that was arrested, he became embroiled in the scandal when Fifa opted to ban both him, and Michel Platini, former president of Europe’s governing body Uefa, from all football activities in December 2015.
The ban related to an incident in 2011 where Blatter approved a payment of CHF2m (€1.87m/$1.98m) from Fifa to Platini for work done a decade earlier.
Swiss prosecutors have opened criminal proceedings against Blatter for the Platini payment, and allegations relating to the sale of World Cup broadcast rights. The case remains active, and Bloomberg said new details uncovered by Fifa’s internal investigation will be shared with Swiss authorities.
“The Swiss and U.S. investigations demonstrated the need for significant reforms at Fifa, and how the business side of football is conducted throughout the world,”
Fifa said in a statement. “Fifa has been conducting both an internal investigation of alleged misconduct and a full audit and review of Fifa’s finance function. Fifa implemented deep reforms and continues to cooperate with authorities and provide them the results of its reviews.