Bloomberg News

FIFA Appeals Against Publication of ISL Bribery Case Documents

June 07, 2011

May 31 (Bloomberg) -- Soccer ruling body, FIFA, has appealed against the publication of court documents linked to a corruption case against marketing company ISL, according to the prosecutor’s office of the Swiss canton of Zug.

The May 24 request was the second FIFA appeal after the public prosecutor’s office decided, also for a second time, in early May that the documents can be released, spokeswoman Judith Aklin said in a telephone interview. Journalists had requested the release of the court papers.

A Zug court last year heard testimony that FIFA officials benefited from bribes paid by its now-bankrupt marketing partner ISL for almost two decades. FIFA is currently involved in another corruption case that has prompted senior officials to accuse each other of graft. The only challenger to incumbent Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency was suspended on May 29.

The documents journalists asked to have released last year name two people within FIFA that received bribes and described the role of FIFA executives who tolerated the bribes, newspaper Handelszeitung reported today, without saying where it obtained the information.

A FIFA spokesman had no immediate comment.

The canton’s high court will decide in the next six months whether the documents can be published. If FIFA appeals again, the case will go to the federal administrative court, which could result in the matter going on for another year or longer, Aklin said.

Zug called off its proceedings against ISL after the group agreed to pay 5.5 million Swiss francs ($6.45 million) compensation, of which 2.5 million francs would go to charities, according to a statement by the canton’s law enforcement agency published on its website on last June.

FIFA pressed charges against ISL in May 2001 after the company failed to give the organization “commissions” of “several million Swiss francs,” which it had paid to non-Swiss FIFA members who used the money for their own purposes, according to the statement.

Journalists made the request to see the ISL case documents last year, after ISL paid the 5.5 million francs, Aklin said.

--Editors: Christopher Scinta, Matthias Wabl

To contact the reporter on this story: Carolyn Bandel in Zurich at cbandel@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net.


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