South African police investigating World Cup bribes
04 June 2015, 13:39
Cape Town - South Africa's organized and serious crime unit said Thursday it was conducting a "preliminary" investigation into bribery allegations surrounding the 2010 World Cup bid.
The unit's spokesman, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, told The Associated Press that a file had been opened and the unit would decide whether the information provided by an opposition political party called for a full investigation.
"There are investigators looking into the matter," Mulaudzi said.
Mulaudzi would not describe the contents of the documents his Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation received from the Freedom Front Plus political party.
There had been no contact between South Africa's unit, known as the Hawks, and the FBI yet, but South African investigators were willing to work with the Americans if required, Mulaudzi said.
Former FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer said in court documents unsealed Wednesday in the United states that he and other top officials at FIFA at the time took bribes connected to South Africa's successful bid to host the 2010 World Cup.
South Africa won the bid in 2004. The U.S. Department of Justice says in its indictments into corruption in FIFA that South Africa paid $10 million in 2008, through FIFA, to former FIFA vice president Jack Warner and two other FIFA executive committee members as payback for them supporting South Africa's bid over Morocco.
Blazer is believed to be one of those two other FIFA executives to receive the cash.
South Africa's government denies it paid bribes, and says the $10 million was "above board" and given to Warner and for soccer development in his Caribbean region.
Warner is one of 14 soccer and sports marketing officials indicted and facing corruption charges in the U.S. investigation.
In South Africa, Mulaudzi said no specific officials were yet being investigated, denying reports that current South African soccer head and 2010 World Cup organizer Danny Jordaan was implicated in the bribery allegations.
A legal adviser for the Freedom Front Plus said it wanted South Africa's sports ministry, the South African Football Association and those involved in the World Cup bid to be investigated. Jennifer Rautenbach said the party would also be handing over more documents to police.
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