Buechel: It's up to Fifa and the IOC to kick their corrupt people out

veröffentlicht am Montag, 15.12.2014

Inside World Football, Medien weltweit


FIFA on alert as Swiss tighten laws to keep a closer eye on sports bodies

By Andrew Warshaw

December 15 - Strict new legislation has been passed in Switzerland aimed at fighting money laundering among sports officials by tightening up the scrutiny of bank accounts held by governing bodies such as Fifa and the International Olympic Committee.

In a vote viewed as a clear sign of Switzerland getting tired of its reputation for being used as a tax haven and going easy on international sports organisations, the country has responded to years of corruption allegations with a set of laws which stop sports federations from being exempt and which overnight could affect up to 60 sporting bodies .

During FIFA's recent attempts at reform, its anti-corruption adviser Mark Pieth challenged his homeland to stop being a "pirate's harbour."

The International Olympic Committee, based in Lausanne, has already approved the new law which allows greater scrutiny of "any strange movement" in bank accounts and financial assets held in Switzerland. Zurich-based Fifa has yet to respond.

Further legislation is in the pipeline to make corrupt acts in sports a criminal offense, even affecting overseas practices if linked to a sports organization based in Switzerland.

The bill now includes wording saying Fifa president Sepp Blatter and other sports executives should be treated as "politically exposed persons" – a term justice officials use to define those in positions that could be targeted to launder money.

The legislation is particularly timely given that Fifa recently lodged a criminal complaint with the Swiss attorney general regarding individuals named in Michael Garcia's hotly debated 2018 and 2022 World Cup bid process report, the inference being that some of them were involved in money laundering connected with the ballot four years ago.

The drive to step up the scrutiny of sporting bodies has been led over the past four years by Swiss politician Roland Buechel. "It is up to Fifa and the IOC to really do their reforms and kick their corrupt people out," he was quoted as saying. "If not, the law will come out much tougher."

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