Fifa Bribes Scandal: Police Probe the British Connection

British police are investigating Fifa corruption after links to UK banks and meetings in London were discovered, The Daily Telegraph has learnt.

Published: 29th May 2015 08:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th May 2015 08:24 AM   |  A+A-

British police are investigating Fifa corruption after links to UK banks and meetings in London were discovered, The Daily Telegraph has learnt.

Officers from the City of London are in contact with the FBI regarding the inquiry into World Cup corruption and have been "assisting" since the "early stages" of the investigation, sources confirmed.

The US indictment gives details of a meeting in London where bribes were agreed. It also alleges that bank accounts held by HSBC and Barclays were used to transfer funds and gives details of a payment to "an account of a luxury yacht manufacturer" in the UK.

Last night the Government urged the Serious Fraud Office to investigate British links to the scandal.

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, also said there was "a very, very strong case" for a change of leadership at the top of world football's governing body. Michel Platini, the head of Uefa, asked Sepp Blatter to step down as Fifa president during a private meeting.

On a second day of crisis for football's governing body: ?Mr Blatter broke his silence to insist that he knew nothing of the scandal;

?Mr Platini said European teams may boycott future World Cups in protest;

?Key Fifa sponsors said they were "extremely concerned" by the corruption allegations;

It emerged that a number of the figures engulfed in the scandal stand to lose lavish homes allegedly obtained using illicit funds.

This week, Fifa has become embroiled in the biggest corruption case in its history and Mr Blatter has come under increasing pressure to resign.

 Mr Blatter last night said he was "not to blame" for the corruption allegations and the Presidential vote at the end of this week will go ahead as planned.

 John Whittingdale, the Culture Secretary, told MPs in the Commons that Fifa was a "deeply flawed and corrupt organisation" and that the Serious Fraud Office were reviewing evidence to see whether an inquiry should be launched.

 One of the men arrested by Swiss authorities in Zurich earlier this week - Costas Takkas - is a British citizen and it is likely that police will have examined bank accounts held in his name.

 Mr Takkas is a former general secretary of the Cayman Islands Football Association and, according to prosecutors, used his global network of bank accounts to funnel bribes for another football official, who has also been arrested.

 Yesterday, Mr Takkas's relations, who live in north London, refused to comment on the investigation.

 The indictment, issued by US authorities, has cast light on areas British police officers are likely to now examine.

 The document sets out how in May 2013, sports executives who have now been indicted by American authorities, set up a new company, Datisa, and obtained "exclusive worldwide commercial rights" to a series of South American football tournaments during a meeting in London. The contract was worth $317.5?million (pounds 207.6?million) and the company representatives "agreed to pay $100?million in bribes to the South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) officials - all of whom were also Fifa officials - in exchange for the 2013 Copa America Contract".

 Barclays and HSBC - both of which have their headquarters in London - were used by officials to funnel payments to "front" companies or firms controlled by "conspirators", the document alleges.

The document goes on to describe how efforts were made "in order to conceal the source and nature of the payment".

 The indictment also raise questions about a yacht manufacturer, who appears to hold a bank account in London.

There is no suggestion that either HSBC or Barclays have done anything wrong. A spokesman for the City of London police said officers had "assisted the FBI in the early stages of their investigation".

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