By Jim Kouri
On Wednesday morning, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced a 47-count indictment was handed down in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, that charges more than a dozen suspects with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies and other crimes related to their participation in a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer. What failed to be reported until later was that former President Bill Clinton and his family’s so-called charity — the Clinton Foundation — are tied to the allegedly corrupt soccer’s governing body, as well as Qatar’s disastrous World Cup bid.
The suspects named in the federal indictment top officials with the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). The FIFA is the global sports organization responsible for the management of professional soccer worldwide. Also indicted were top officials who operated under the FIFA network. Americans Jeffrey Webb and Jack Warner are among the suspects charged with racketeering and bribery offenses.
The defendants also include U.S. and South American sports marketing executives who are alleged to have systematically paid and agreed to pay well over $150 million in bribes and kickbacks to obtain lucrative media and marketing rights to international soccer tournaments. Meanwhile, a public-interest law firm also filed a racketeering lawsuit against Bill and Hillary Clinton and their Clinton Foundation. The legal action by Freedom Watch’s Larry Klayman includes a plea to have the Florida judge order the seizure of the Internet server owned by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton which contained — or may still contain — her emails and those of her State Department aides.
According to a statement by Attorney General Lynch on Wednesday, “The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States. It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks. And it has profoundly harmed a multitude of victims, from the youth leagues and developing countries that should benefit from the revenue generated by the commercial rights these organizations hold, to the fans at home and throughout the world whose support for the game makes those rights valuable. Today’s action makes clear that this Department of Justice intends to end any such corrupt practices, to root out misconduct, and to bring wrongdoers to justice – and we look forward to continuing to work with other countries in this effort.”
“As charged in the indictment, the defendants fostered a culture of corruption and greed that created an uneven playing field for the biggest sport in the world,” said FBI Director James Comey in the same statement. “Undisclosed and illegal payments, kickbacks, and bribes became a way of doing business at FIFA. I want to commend the investigators and prosecutors around the world who have pursued this case so diligently, for so many years,” he noted.
According to reports, the Clintons’ so-called charity organization received between $50,000 and $100,000 from the world soccer’s governing body and the Clinton Foundation partnered with the Fédération Internationale de Football Association on a number of occasions, according to donor listings on the foundation’s website. According to the Justice Department, a few of the top FIFA executives were arrested Wednesday in Zurich, Switzerland, and face corruption charges stretching back two decades. Involvement with the embattled body extends beyond the foundation to Bill Clinton himself. The former president was an honorary chairman of the bid committee put together to promote the United States as a possible host nation for the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.
“The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, partnering with the State of Qatar, committed to utilizing its research and development for sustainable infrastructure at the 2022 FIFA World Cup to improve food security in Qatar, the Middle East, and other arid and water-stressed regions throughout the world,” according to the Clinton Foundation. While the amount of money transferred for that specific project isn’t listed on the Clinton Foundation website, it has been reported that the Qatar 2022 committee had given the foundation almost a half-million dollars in 2014 and the State of Qatar gave the Clintons up to $5 million in previous, unspecified years.
Jim Kouri, CPP, the fifth Vice President and Public Information Officer of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, has served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.