NB: THIS TRANSCRIPT WAS TYPED FROM A TRANSCRIPTION UNIT RECORDING AND NOT COPIED FROM AN ORIGINAL SCRIPT: BECAUSE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF MIS-HEARING AND THE DIFFICULTY, IN SOME CASES OF IDENTIFYING INDIVIDUAL SPEAKERS, THE BBC CANNOT VOUCH FOR ITS ACCURACY.
The Beautiful Bung -
Corruption and the World Cup
RECORDED FROM TRANSMISSION: BBC-1 DATE: 11:06:06
ANDREW JENNINGS: It's the biggest football party in the world. It's brought us tantrums, tears and once, a very long time ago, triumph. But if men like these are some of the most popular in the history of the beautiful game - who are the most unpopular? You might think it was this man, but you'd be wrong. He's not even close. Now this is one of the most unpopular men in world football, and he controls it. His name is Sepp Blatter and his organisation is in a bit of trouble, and I'm another. My name is Andrew Jennings and Mr Blatter can't stand me.
[Film clip: walking interview]
JENNINGS: [to Blatter] Let me just ask you this. Do you know which football officials took bribes from the ISL¿.
BLATTER: [No response]
JENNINGS: Mr Blatter's organisation, FIFA, can't stand me either.
[Film clip: Outside FIFA House]
JENNINGS: Why am I banned from FIFA House? What have I done?
ANDREAS HERREN: [barring door] No comment.
JENNINGS: They barred me from every FIFA building and event on the planet because I keep asking questions about corruption in the beautiful game.
Please don't do that. (being manhandled) Can I ask you¿.
JENNINGS: It's a remarkable story of bribes and secret deals and the collapse of one of the world's biggest sports marketing companies.
Good morning President Blatter,
JENNINGS: Come with me, it's going to be a bumpy ride as I try to dig out the truth behind the beautiful bung.
Our story begins in Switzerland, the land of numbered bank accounts and few questions asked. FIFA, the International Federation of Football Associations, has made its home here in Zurich. The allegations I'm investigating are very serious, that some of the men who run the beautiful game here at FIFA headquarters have been pocketing bribes worth millions of pounds. Love it or loathe it, we've all heard of the Football World Cup. You may have heard of FIFA, but you probably haven't heard of the company whose activities threatens to bring down some of the most powerful men in world football. It's called International Sports and Leisure or ISL. ISL was based here in Zug, an Alpine range away from FIFA. An impressive headquarters for a company with a most sought after and lucrative product to sell.
For this year and the previous five tournaments FIFA handed ISL the exclusive contract to sell the football World Cup. Every four years the ISL salesman extracted vast sums from the manufacturers of burgers, sugary drinks and razor blades, for the privilege of putting the World Cup emblem on their products. The television rights are worth even more. In Britain the BBC and ITV have paid out around 80 million pounds this year, or more than one pound for every one of us, whether you're a football fan or not. The World Cup can bring in more than 600 million dollars worth of business. ISL went up to 25% of that in commissions. One of the World Cup's biggest sponsors is the sports kit manufacturer Adidas, and it was a member of the family who then owned the company who set up ISL in 1982. He'd realised there was as much money to be made selling sports right as sports kit. For nearly 20 years none of ISL's competitors got a look in at FIFA and the company was desperate to keep it that way - whatever it cost.
Why did FIFA give these contracts to ISL rather to their competitors? Because ISL paid kickbacks, big kickbacks to some of the men in controlling World Football. That's the allegation, but where's the proof? That proof is not easy to come by here in Switzerland. This is still the destination of choice if you've got business dealings you'd rather keep private. That's very convenient for FIFA. The bosses of the world game don't like reporters prying into its finances. For years I'd been hearing gossip that officials here at FIFA headquarters were taking bribes from the ISL company, but my investigations only really kicked off when I heard about one secret payment that had gone spectacularly wrong. I was tipped off that an ISL bribe work a million Swiss Francs, that's around £400,000, had gone astray. It should have been sent to the private bank account of a very senior FIFA official. By mistake it went to FIFA's account! But when I raised it with FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, a few years ago, he suddenly went all coy.
JENNINGS: It's alleged a secret payment from ISL arrived by accident in FIFA's bank account. Who was it to?
BLATTER: I will not enter into discussion here in this press conference and this is totally out of the matter we like to discuss today.
JENNINGS: Questions like that got me banished from FIFA and from the World Cup. My sources inside FIFA brief me in secret, but nobody would take the risk of going on the record. Then in 2001 ISL - FIFA's favourite marketing company - went bust. ISL had borrowed too much money and couldn't pay its debts. The insolvent company was taken over by a Swiss liquidator, Thomas Bower. He started going through ISL's books looking for money he could recover for the creditors. He soon discovered some very odd and apparently unjustified payments to football officials. Six weeks after ISL went bust, I went to the first meeting of the creditors, chaired by the liquidator Mr Bower. I managed to grab him and I asked him the big question, had he found evidence of bribes. His answer blew me away and I've still got the note of what he said. He told me: "I have found football related payments from ISL, some are very large, in excess of one million francs. I have written to the recipients asking them to return the money.
I had to wait another four years for my next breakthrough. A senior ISL executive agreed to talk to me on the phone. To protect him, an actor is speaking his words. He revealed how ISL had made payments to FIFA officials. In German speaking Switzerland it's known as schmeargeld, in English we call it¿
ISL MAN: ¿ bribe money, slush money.
JENNINGS: Slush money?
ISL MAN: Slush money, backhanders¿
JENNINGS: He wouldn't tell me which FIFA officials pocketed the kickbacks but he did tell me how they got their money. Over a 20 year period, bribes were delivered systematically to bank accounts, often located offshore.
On those there would be a name, there'd be a some of money and¿
ISL MAN: Not necessarily a name, it can also be a company.
JENNINGS: Of course, yes. Yeah, and then they went off to banks in Switzerland.
ISL MAN: That's right, or to banks abroad.
JENNINGS: Can you remember which.. any of the countries where these foreign banks were?
ISL MAN: It was Lichtenstein and I think also Hong Kong.
JENNINGS: Bogus contracts were created so ISL could explain away the bribes which they described in their accounts as additional rights payments.
[to ISL MAN] The auditors would not find anything odd?
ISL MAN: No, because if they find that these documents are in order then they have nothing to claim.
JENNINGS: He promised to meet me the following week.
[to ISL MAN] We could look provisionally at Tuesday and I've got your cell phone number¿.
JENNINGS: Then this wonderful source got cold feet and wouldn't return my calls. Meanwhile, back in Zurich the ISL liquidator Thomas Bower was chasing the men who'd taken the bribes. As he'd told me, he'd written to them demanding the money back. Eventually a secret deal was struck, they'd return more than a million pounds to ISL's creditors. In 2005 this court in Lausanne ruled that it could all be done in secret, the names of those repaying the bribes could be kept confidential. The lid was being battened down. Eventually two FIFA insiders confided in me revealing what happened the day that one million frank bribe arrived by mistake at FIFA headquarters, the story that kicked off my investigations. They told me about the panic that morning in the winter of 1998 when the incriminating bank statement was taken to the office of FIFA's then number two man, General Secretary Sepp Blatter. They said that FIFA tried to persuade the bank to erase all record of the transaction and failed. Who was this enormous bribe addressed to? They told me it was to the man then at the top, FIFA President Joao Havalange.
Brazil's Joao Havalange was the top man at FIFA for a quarter of a century until 1998. Havalange made sure the exclusive marketing and television rights for the 2002 and 2006 World Cups went to ISL, just as he had for the previous four tournaments. Eight years ago Panorama examined those contracts. With what I now knew, the comments then of two FIFA Executive Committee members suddenly made a lot of sense.
FIFA Executive Committee
My understanding was that it was simply announced to the Executive Committee that a contract had been agreed and signed by the President. But I can say that for the present contract that's being negotiated now, 2002-2006 we are physically asking to see the actual contract, we're wanting to see the documentation before it's signed.
JENNINGS: But Havalange wasn't having that. He simply ignored his Executive Committee.
FIFA Executive Committee
We said please be aware that President and the General Secretary can sign the contract but it has to be approved first by the Executive Committee. A few weeks later the President came and said: "I'm very happy to tell you that now I have signed the contract for television."
HAVALANGE: [telephone] Hello?
JENNINGS: Dr Havalange?
JENNINGS: My name is Andrew Jennings¿..
It was time to ask former President Havalange about the bribery allegations. He's now 90 years old and has just had a heart pacemaker fitted, so I was gentle.
HAVALANGE: About the FIFA you speak to Mr Blatter.
JENNINGS: Alright then, thank you very much. Good bye.
I knew that President Blatter was attending a press conference at FIFA headquarters. Would he lift his ban on me doing my job as a reporter, let me ask some questions ?
JENNINGS: Please, can I come into your press conference?
BLATTER: [no response]
JENNINGS: I said please may I come into your press conference?
BLATTER: When? Now?
JENNINGS; Yeah, now.
JENNINGS: May I come in.
BLATTER: Yes, okay.
JENNINGS: But some of your press people wont always let me in.
BLATTER: I will take care of it.
JENNINGS: I just wanted to put a question to you now because some of your press people don't let me get in, they bar me. What I would like to ask.. let me just ask you this. Do you know which football officials took bribes from the ISL marketing company?
BLATTER: No, sorry, I don't speak about that.
JENNINGS: Do you know which football officials took payments from the ISL marketing company?
BLATTER: I don't answer these questions.
JENNINGS: Have you tried to find out who took these payments from the ISL marketing company?
BLATTER: You know better than I know. You know better than I know.
JENNINGS: You're the President of World Football, I'm only a reporter.
BLATTER: Listen. Listen, you know better than I know. This is a file which is in the hands of the justice and courts and it shall be there¿..
JENNINGS: But will you tell me who took the one million franc bribe? I'm told you ordered this bribe should be moved to the man who's name is on the payment. Can you tell me who it went to? Was it President Havalange?
President Blatter had promised to admit me to his press conference but quickly changed his mind sending FIFA official, Andreas Herren, to turn me away.
Andreas, you're senior press officer, come on, you know me, you've known me for years. Why am I banned from FIFA House? What have I done?
ANDREAS HERREN: No comment.
JENNINGS: While I was waiting outside FIFA House for President Blatter I spotted a man who knows about FIFA's secrets. His name is Jean-Marie Weber he's a close friend of Sepp Blatter and he was once a top executive at the ISL company. Again and again I've been told that he was the man who organised the bribes to football officials. When we filmed him he'd just emerged from FIFA headquarters. I'm banned from the building but Jean-Marie is still welcome in the bosom of football.
Mr Weber declined my request for an interview so I popped round to his house to see if we could have a little chat. Here we go.
JENNINGS: Good morning Jean-Marie. I'm making a film for BBC Television about ISL and FIFA.
WEBER: No, I don't make any comments. Sorry I haven't any comments.
JENNINGS: Could we come in and talk?
VABOR: No, no.
JENNINGS: Could I check one thing¿.
Despite my requests Mr Weber refused to talk about his role in the FIFA bribery scandal.
WEBER: I have no comment.
JENNINGS: I'm very keen to talk about the payments¿
WEBER: No, no, sorry, yeah, no, sorry.
JENNINGS: ¿ you know, the bribe that went to FIFA.
WEBER: I have not any comment to do, sorry.
JENNINGS: Oh dear. Mr Weber wouldn't talk to me, but he's had to talk to this man, Thomas Hildebrand is his name, financial crime is his game. He's one of Switzerland's most experienced criminal investigators. He can't talk to me because he's charged Jean-Marie Weber and five other ISL executives with embezzlement, forgery and fraud and he's not finished yet. Now it's not just the men running ISL who the Swiss authorities are interested in. It's the men running FIFA. Last November the police raided FIFA House and seized documents from the offices of President Blatter and his General Secretary Urs Linsi. This being Switzerland the authorities wont tell me what it's about, but they did confirm to me that their enquiries are continuing - and so were mine.
A reliable source led me to a man who'd occupied a very senior position at ISL. At last somebody would talk to me face to face. He knew about the vast scale of the bribery. He told me that over a period of almost 20 years ISL had paid out tens of millions of pounds to football officials. For his own protection we've concealed his identity.
SOURCE: I became aware that ISL paid major amounts of money in order to get these rights.
JENNINGS: How would you term these payments, what would you call them in common language?
SOURCE: Well in common language it's obviously corruption.
JENNINGS: So what sort of people were taking the money? I mean was it very many people or was it just a handful of people?
SOURCE: On the top of FIFA there's just a handful of people in the position to make decisions as to who would get the commercial rights of FIFA.
JENNINGS: And you don't need more than half of them, do you.
SOURCE: That's right.
JENNINGS: So it should be a good investment.
SOURCE: That's definitely very good business.
JENNINGS: Why did they pay the bribes?
SOURCE: They paid the bribes to get the best sports rights in the world.
JENNINGS: From what you know about the bribes paid to football officials, was it just the occasional brown envelope at the back of the car park? Was it just: Oh, we haven't looked after you for a bit. How was it done?
SOURCE: It was done as lump sum payments. You can think of it the same way as salary payments that are done out of a company.
JENNINGS: So who was getting payments and kickbacks from ISL?
SOURCE: There were systematic payments out of ISL by bank remittances to key decision makers. Mr Havelange, the then President of FIFA was taking money. There were numerous payments and the magnitude was around 250,000 Swiss franks for at least one payment.
JENNINGS: That's more than £100,000. This was strong stuff. Was there any way I could put these new allegations to current President Sepp Blatter? I knew he'd be showing up soon at another FIFA press conference talking of all things about money and the World Cup. There was no way I'd be allowed in, so my Panorama colleague, Andy Davies, agreed to put the questions on my behalf. With a bit of technical help I could hear everything inside and feed the questions to Andy from outside. But as the floor was thrown open to reporters, something rather odd happened.
[Mr Blatter departs]
SIEGLER: Okay, and I excuse in that very same moment the President of Fifa, thank you Sepp Blatter, so who has a question?
JENNINGS: And off went Blatter conveniently dodging our questions. They'd sussed that Andy was working with me. From then on it went downhill fast. Each time Andy got the mic. And attempted to question General Secretary Urs Linsi it was taken away. Andy was running out of time, he had to make his move.
ANDY DAVIES: Mr Linsi, Andy Davies from¿
LINSI: No, no, no, please, please no.
DAVIES: ¿ BBC Panorama. Sorry, you banned my colleague¿
LINSI: Please no, no. Can't you turn that off.
DAVIES: [to Jennings, listening in from outside building] I tried to get the microphone.
DAVIES: Mr Linsi, could I just ask you, you banned my colleague. Do you know which FIFA officials¿
LINSI: Stop, please, go out.
DAVIES: ¿have received bribes from the ISL Marketing Company and an additional questions¿
LINSI: There's a certain order with you.
JENNINGS: Andy see if you can get in the question about the bribe that was wrongly addressed, the million franks that arrived in their bank account by mistake.
DAVIES: Mr Linsi, a one million frank bribe¿ is it not correct that Mr Blatter, after that he moved to the¿ FIFA official who was named on the payment slip. Is that not the case, and why are you refusing to answer these questions? They're vitally important questions and I just ask¿
BLATTER: I give you an answer. Why we refuse to answer? I give you an answer.
DAVIES: What is the answer?
FIFA Communications Director
We admitted you to this press conference, we know exactly what kind of programme it is, we know exactly who is behind that, but we do not accept that you stand up, that you have no respect¿
DAVIES: I'm standing up here on behalf of Andrew Jennings.
SIEGLER: Absolute non-respect for certain order. We ask you to submit your questions in writing. If you do not stop now then we call the security and we put you out.
JENNINGS: Thank you Andy, thank you very much for asking the questions that actually I should have been asking. Thank you.
DAVIES: Well Andrew, they weren't particularly keen to take the questions, they don't want those questions asked.
JENNINGS: I've been putting those questions for years in writing. Shall we go and have a beer? Come on.
Despite that fiasco I was making progress. I discovered that bribes had been paid to people here at FIFA headquarters. I'd been told that some of those bribes had gone to the very top, to the previous President of FIFA himself, and I knew that someone had paid part of the money back, but I didn't know who. It would be another two months before I got an answer to that particular question.
DE LA FIFA
7th June 1998
As the corruption allegations swirl around FIFA another question keeps cropping up. How does Sepp Blatter hang on to his job? The President of FIFA is elected once every four years by 207 footballing nations at the FIFA congress, every country, regardless of size, has one vote. When Blatter was first elected in 1998 it was alleged that envelopes stuffed with cash were slipped under the bedroom doors of delegates to the FIFA congress. He didn't like being asked about that.
Q: What was in the envelopes which the lady handed out?
BLATTER: That's rubbish. It's all a load of nonsense.
Q: If it's nonsense, then why do you react so strongly to it?
JENNINGS: FIFA is made up of regional confederations. Europe's vote is split, so is Africa's and Asia's. But Sepp Blatter is guaranteed to stay in power as long as he has the backing of one big undivided block of votes. They're not controlled here in Switzerland but nearly 5000 miles away in the tropics. It's time to pack my Panama hat. The Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago is the smallest country ever to reach the World Cup finals. Fans here are on a high after their team, the Soccer Warriors drew with Sweden yesterday. On Thursday they face mighty England. But behind the celebrations there's another side to the way the beautiful game is run in this part of the world. Sepp Blatter needs the support of the men who run football here, they need him. I'm here to meet a former FIFA insider, the first ever to go public on some of the questionable dealings at the top of international football. Mel Brennan is now a University Professor in America but for 3 years he worked for FIFA and its regional organisation CONCACAF covering North America, Central America and the Caribbean. He saw corruption from the inside and knows why it is tolerated by Sepp Blatter.
Head of Special Projects, CONCACAF
From 2001 to 2003 I was head of Special Project directly reporting to the General Secretary of CONCACAF. My day to day work brought me in close proximity of the leadership of world football.
JENNINGS: Why did you become disenchanted with CONCACAF?
BRENNAN: I was asked to keep a certain reporter kept out of the CONCACAF Congress. That reporter was you. (laugh) And¿.
JENNINGS: So you were the muscle.
BRENNNAN: I was the muscle.
JENNINGS: Twice as tall as me.
BRENNAN: Everyone else was afraid to do it. I went out and kept you out of the Congress. But during the entire time I kept you out of the Congress you asked some serious questions. The vast majority of accusations you were levelling were actually the case that ended any idealism I had about world football governance.
JENNINGS: FIFA claims that most of the money they earn from selling football rights goes on projects to help youngsters like these, tens of millions of dollars of FIFA money do flow into CONCACAF every year. But Mel Brennan discovered that officials in the Federation's offices in Trinidad and New York were spending a lot of it on themselves. The President of the CONCACAF region is Jack Warner. He's best friends with Sepp Blatter and delivers a block of votes that keeps him in power. Twenty years ago he was a poorly paid history teacher here in Trinidad. Football has made him rich. Today he lives in this opulent house in a well-to-do suburb. How does he make his money? Well here's one way. There's a CONCACAF office inside this modest building in downtown Port of Spain. CONCAFAC pays nearly a third of a million dollars a year for it. Why would Jack Warner's football empire want to pay so much for offices in this building? Is it because the landlord is Jack Warner? Well Mel Brennan left the Federation 3 years ago, he copied many incriminating documents.
This is a cheque! Who's getting paid?
BRENNAN: Here you've got the CONCACAF President's office. You've got 25,000 dollars a month, 40,000 dollars a month in December.
JENNINGS: That's Jack paying Jack, he's the landlord.
BRENNAN: He's the landlord.
JENNINGS: CONCACAF pays him for his office.
BRENNAN: He's paying him himself.
JENNINGS; And that's not all.
BRENNAN: We've got cheques here for paying people external to CONCACAF, paying their taxes. We've got cheques here for thousands and thousands of dollars worth of pens. We've got cheques here for CONCACAF staff members' mortgages. I'd love to get my mortgage paid by CONCACAF, wouldn't you?
JENNINGS: Do you think Sepp Blatter knows how Jack is spending CONCAF'S money?
BRENNAN: Oh absolutely. Absolutely.
JENNINGS: Why doesn't he step in and say look Jack, enough's enough, you've had a good share, it's about time that you just spent a bit more of it on football.
BRENNAN: Well don't forget, Jack Warner controls 35 votes. He's the swing man regarding votes and voting politics in FIFA.
JENNINGS: President Blatter stays in power at FIFA because he can count on Warner's votes.
I have told Mr Blatter, that whenever he is running for election, do not come to campaign in CONCACAF. He doesn't have to deal with this thing. CONCACAF has 35 votes - he gets 35.
JENNINGS: Even if it requires a little vote rigging. This was the day when the country's vote was hijacked by Jack Warner. The year is 1998, it's the FIFA presidential election in Paris. This is the delegate who cast that vote for the Caribbean Island of Haiti except he isn't a delegate and he isn't from Haiti. Neville Ferguson is one of Jack Warner's officials from Trinidad.
Paris, June 1998
The Haiti delegate couldn't travel to the Congress so without his knowledge and flagrantly breaking FIFA's rules, Mr Ferguson cast Haiti's vote for Sepp Blatter.
Have you ever known Sepp Blatter refuse Jack anything he wanted?
BRENNAN: No, never.
JENNINGS: Most recently that meant tickets for this World Cup. When Trinidad Soccer Warriors qualified, one company was given exclusive allocation. The company even came up with a catchy slogan: "Ticket! or leave it". This is the company, Simpaul Travel of Port of Spain. It's around the corner from Jack Warner's offices, which is convenient for him because guess who owned Simpaul Travel? Jack Warner and his wife. When news of this cosy arrangement broke, the cries of foul went to the top of Trinidad Sport.
Minister of Sport, Trinidad Tobago
Mr Warner cannot be the Vice President of FIFA, the President of CONCACAF, a Director on Simpaul and the public can only go through Simpaul. It does not look right. It looks as though it's a conflict of interest. There was a lot of concern from this, persons from all quarters in Trinidad and Tobago rejected that idea.
JENNINGS: The reporter who exposed this ticket racket was Lasana Liburd. He then suffered the same retribution from the football authorities here that I received in Switzerland.
FIFA is not the only one that bans journalists. Jack Warner banned me from this year's World Cup.
JENNINGS: Why? Well I wrote a story last Christmas proving that Jack Warner diverted World Cup tickets into his family owned travel company, Simpauls.
JENNINGS: What was his reaction?
LIBURD: He was very angry.
JENNINGS: How angry?
LIBURD: Angry enough to hold a national press conference attacking me personally, and angry enough to have me lose my accreditation¿ a writer applies for accreditation to the World Cup.
JENNINGS: So you're not going to the World Cup.
LIBURD: Actually I am.
LIBURD: There was a huge international outcry after the¿ once the articles had gone global, and eventually FIFA stepped in, and accredited me.
JENNINGS: Mr Warner failed to respond to my requests for an interview, so I tried to catch his attention as he arrived at this political meeting flanked by minders.
Good evening, Mr Warner - Andrew Jennings, BBC Panorama programme. Would you give me an interview?
WARMER: Excuse.. excuse.
JENNINGS: [to minder muscling in] We're on a public highway, please don't interrupt.
WARNER: Would you please leave along.
JENNINGS: I would like to ask you, how much profit do you expect to make¿
WARNER: Would you please leave me alone.
JENNINGS: ¿ from trading in World Cup tickets this year?
WARNER: Why don't you go f--k yourself!
JENNINGS: Mr Warner, I asked you how much profit you hope to make from the World Cup this year. You are selling tickets?
[Warner beckons to henchman to advance]
JENNINGS: Could I ask you, why did you allow Neville Ferguson to cast Haiti's vote to elect President Blatter? Could I ask you please, how much you expect to make from selling World Cup Tickets here? [to henchman muscling in] I'm not touching him.
Following our encounter Mr Warner has issued a press release from his office here. It's headed: "Operation: Get Jack Warner." He claims to have unmasked a conspiracy between me, local reporter Lasana Liburd and the Trinidad Government. It says: "Mr Jennings went as far as attempting to physically obstruct me from taking the podium. His actions provoked a crowd of onlookers who sought to keep Mr Jennings from my path. I caution him to be less irresponsible in the future." Less irresponsible in the future? I don't remember being irresponsible, but I do remember this:
JENNINGS: ¿ from trading in World Cup Tickets this year.
WARNER: Why don't you go f--k yourself!
JENNINGS: In 2001 the country hosted FIFA's Under 17 World Championships. New stadiums, including this one were built, and there were juicy contracts to be had.
Head of Special Projects, CONCACAF
2001 - 2003
There was a security contract for the event. That went to a Warner Company, one of Jack Warner sons. Another one of the Warner sons got the fast food and drinks concessions contract for all five stadia for the event. This was the first FIFA tournament where FIFA travel, the travel agency inside FIFA, didn't organise travel for the event.
JENNINGS: So which business got it?
LIBURD: Jack Warner's travel business, Simpaul Travel got it.
Minister of Sport, Trinidad & Tobago
I don't have any problem with the Warner family making a dollar, I don't have a problem with them being entrepreneurs. What we do have a problem with, what I do have a problem with, is the manner in which it comes about, and as we see in several instants where no advertisement have been taking place, and yet we find that the Warner's sons and Mr Warner for instance benefited from contracts, and that is a concern that we, the people of Trinidad and Tobago and the government, we have.
JENNINGS: The row over the tickets to see the Soccer Warriors at the World Cup were still simmering when the team flew in to Trinidad from a good will visit to the twin island of Tobago. The controversy had led to rival companies being given a small allocation of tickets, and to a FIFA investigation which had to conclude the obvious - Jack Warner had a conflict of interest. He told FIFA that he'd now sold Simpaul Travel so no action was taken against him. But Jack Warner had already sold a lot of tickets.
Mr Warner, hello again.
WARNER: Now man, leave me alone.
JENNINGS: Can I ask you how much¿ (Warner violently pushing Jennings) Please don't do that. Can I ask you how much money you're making¿
WARNER: Leave me alone.
JENNINGS: Please don't do that. I'm trying to ask you how much profit you're making from World Cup Tickets this year. Why is it your family always gets the juiciest FIFA contracts?
WARNER: Leave me alone please. Leave me alone please. Leave me alone¿ (Warner escapes onto a waiting coach shielded by security)
JENNINGS: Hello, Mr Warner, (calling through coach window) please, why wont you talk about these football issues?
After this encounter Mr Warner's lawyers wrote the Chairman of the BBC accusing me of: "Approaching our client in an aggressive manner and violently shoving a microphone into our client's face thereby causing injuries to our client's upper lip." That's not quite how I remember it. Let's see an action replay of that interview. This time from the reverse angle. Other TV crews had hand mics but I didn't. Eventually the police in the friendliest possible way asked me to move on, so I did, back to continue my investigations in Zurich. Before I left Switzerland I'd made a lot of headway. I'd been told of one huge bribe which ended up accidentally in FIFA's account when it was intended for the man who then ran World Football, President Joao Havelange. I'd learnt from one insider that tens of millions of pounds worth of bribes were paid by the ISL company to officials, and I discovered that over a million pounds of bribes had been repaid in a deal which protected the identity of the people involved. But I still didn't know who'd repaid that money. Now I do. Remember Police Investigator Thomas Hildebrand? He was the man who raided FIFA headquarters last November and seized documents from the office of Sepp Blatter. Seven weeks ago Mr Hildebrand went to court. He wanted access to more documents. The court granted his request and in its judgement it made a remarkable disclosure. It's confidential but I've got a copy and it tells us finally who repaid those bribes. It wasn't the anonymous football officials who took the money in the first place - it was FIFA! And it's this, the possibility that FIFA money has been used to repay the bribes that's now under investigation by the Swiss authorities. They'll want to know why FIFA repaid the money. Were they just channelling it back on behalf of the guilty men to help conceal their identities, or did FIFA make the repayment itself so the bribe-takers could hang on to their money. Whatever the explanation it leaves FIFA with questions to answer. I caught up with President Blatter again as he was about to fly off to the World Cup in his executive jet.
Good morning, President Blatter. Why did FIFA repay the ISL bribes?
BLATTER: [no response]
JENNINGS: Did you ever take bribes from ISL? President Blatter, I must ask you, are you a fit and proper person to control World Football? Let me ask you again, why did FIFA repay the ISL bribes? Are you a fit and proper person to run world football?
[Blatter ignores all questions]
JENNINGS: We put all the questions in this programme to FIFA in writing. They denied they repaid any bribes and they say that neither FIFA nor President Blatter ever received any kickbacks from ISL. What is beyond dispute is that over the coming months the Swiss police will be asking some of the highflying men who run the beautiful game some very serious questions.
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