Friday 10 July, 2020

FIFA bans former finance director Kattner for 10 years

In this Nov. 24, 2015 file photo, FIFA finance director Markus Kattner, listens during a conference in Moscow. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, file).

In this Nov. 24, 2015 file photo, FIFA finance director Markus Kattner, listens during a conference in Moscow. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, file).

FIFA banned its former finance director Markus Kattner for 10 years on Tuesday for helping former president Sepp Blatter and other top managers award themselves salary raises and bonuses totaling tens of millions of dollars.

FIFA said its ethics committee judges found Kattner guilty of conflicts of interest and abuse of position, including obtaining a recording of a FIFA Council meeting.

Kattner was also fined 1 million Swiss francs ($1.05 million) and ordered to pay within 30 days.

“By his conduct, the integrity and objectivity of FIFA have therefore been exceedingly violated,” FIFA’s ethics judges said in their ruling.

Kattner spent 13 years overseeing the world football body’s finances during Blatter's presidency. When he was fired by FIFA’s new management in 2016, it was revealed that Blatter, former secretary-general Jerome Valcke and Kattner himself were contracted to get World Cup bonuses, loyalty bonuses, and future golden handshakes totaling tens of millions of dollars.

Lawyers for FIFA four years ago described “a coordinated effort by three former top officials of FIFA to enrich themselves.”

At the time, a spokesperson for Kattner said the contracts were approved by FIFA’s compensation panel and known to its then-auditors.

When Blatter and Valcke were suspended from duty in 2015, Kattner was promoted to be FIFA’s interim secretary-general — a role he continued to hold for three more months after the election of current president Gianni Infantino.

FIFA ethics investigators formally opened an investigation of the three men in September 2016.

Kattner’s ban from football comes weeks after he was made a criminal suspect by Swiss federal prosecutors investigating FIFA’s finances during the Blatter presidency.

The 49-year-old German is now classed as an accused person in Switzerland after a long-standing criminal proceeding against Blatter was extended to include himself and his former boss Valcke.

The latest allegation, reported by The Associated Press three weeks ago, relates to a $1-million loan FIFA made to the Trinidad and Tobago football federation in April 2010.

The interest-free, unsecured loan from football funds was paid into the control of FIFA’s then-vice president Jack Warner — while he was a candidate during the Caribbean nation’s general election — and later waived as a gift.

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