UK fraud office receives new money laundering details in FIFA investigation

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 27, 2015 7:33 AM

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's fraud office has received new information about money laundering as part of its investigation into soccer's world governing body FIFA, the head of the agency said on Tuesday.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said in May it was examining information relating to possible corruption at the governing body after the United States charged FIFA officials with fraud, bribery and money laundering.

Giving an update on the UK investigation to a committee of British lawmakers, SFO director David Green said the agency was still examining issues around possible money laundering but that he did not think it could examine FIFA under bribery laws.

"We are still examining issues around possible money laundering," he said. "I can’t yet go into detail about that but there are several aspects to it and some new information has come to us quite recently."

Green earlier told the parliamentary hearing that he did not believe his organization had found any evidence of a British link that would enable the SFO to investigate FIFA for bribery.

"My position would be that we cannot touch FIFA with the Bribery Act as things stand," he said, adding there could be a line of liability against sponsors if it could be established they had failed to follow adequate procedures.

FIFA is embroiled in the worst scandal of its 111-year history. Outgoing boss Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, president of European soccer's governing body UEFA, who had been favorite to succeed him, have been suspended for 90 days pending a full investigation by FIFA's Ethics Committee. Both deny any wrongdoing.

Swiss authorities are also investigating the decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively. Both countries deny any wrongdoing.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and Kate Holton; editing by Stephen Addison)