U.S. prosecutors believe FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s top lieutenant made $10 million in bank transactions that are central to the bribery investigation of the world soccer body, a source familiar with the matter said on Monday.
Jerome Valcke, FIFA’s secretary general, is described in an indictment filed in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, as an unidentified “high-ranking FIFA official” who in 2008 transferred the sum to another FIFA official, Jack Warner.
Valcke is not named as a defendant and has not been accused of any wrongdoing. He was not immediately available for comment.
A spokeswoman for FIFA said the $10 million in bank transactions were authorized by the then-FIFA Finance Committee chairman. The Finance Committee chairman was Julio Grondona, who died last year.
Valcke and Blatter are the top two officials within FIFA.
Valcke’s connection to the case was first reported by The New York Times. The Times said Valcke had written in an email to the newspaper that he neither had authorized the payment nor had the power to do so.
As new questions arose in the FIFA scandal, more officials were arrested, suspended or banned on Monday, and countries were weighing a World Cup boycott amid controversy over the re-election of Blatter as FIFA president on Friday.
As news broke of Valcke’s alleged connection to the case, FIFA announced that Valcke would not attend the opening of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015 due to begin on Saturday as previously scheduled.
NEW YORK (Reuters) –