FIFA’s independent Ethics Committee has opened formal proceedings against the organisation’s former president Sepp Blatter, as well as Jerome Valcke and Markus Kattner, in relation to numerous alleged violations of the FIFA Code of Ethics (FCE).
In June, lawyers conducting an internal investigation at world football’s governing body said Blatter, former general secretary Valcke and ex-acting secretary general and director of finance Kattner benefitted improperly from bonuses totalling a combined 79million Swiss francs (£55m) over the past five years.
The law firm Quinn Emanuel also stated two clauses in contract extensions granted to Valcke and Kattner in April 2011, shortly before Blatter’s successful campaign for re-election against Mohammed Bin Hamman, are contrary to mandatory Swiss law.
Blatter and Valcke are presently serving respective six and 12-year bans from all football-related activity, handed down by the Ethics Committee. Both men deny any wrongdoing.
Kattner was dismissed last month as a result of an internal FIFA investigation that “uncovered breaches of fiduciary responsibilities” and the three men must now answer questions relating to possible FCE violations in the areas of general rules of conduct; loyalty; conflicts of interest; offering and accepting gifts and other benefits; and bribery and corruption.
A statement released by FIFA read: “The deputy chairman of the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee, Djimbaraye Bourngar, has opened formal proceedings against Joseph Blatter, former President of FIFA, Jerome Valcke, former Secretary General of FIFA and Markus Kattner, former Acting Secretary General and Director of Finance & Corporate Services.
“The investigatory chamber will investigate possible violations of art. 13 (General rules of conduct), art. 15 (Loyalty), art. 19 (Conflicts of interest), art. 20 (Offering and accepting gifts and other benefits) and art. 21 (Bribery and corruption) of the FIFA Code of Ethics (FCE) in the context of salaries and bonuses paid to Mr Blatter, Mr Valcke and Mr Kattner as well as other provisions included in the contracts of these three individuals.”
Kattner will also be investigated over a possible violation related to confidentiality rules.
The FIFA statement added: “Under the FIFA Code of Ethics, the investigatory chamber shall examine all circumstances of the cases equally. For reasons linked to privacy rights and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, the investigatory chamber will not publish further details at the present time.”