Press release | May 29, 2015

FIFA officials allegedly relied on banks and anonymous companies to hide bribe payments

The FIFA scandal is making headlines around the world, with 14 people indicted on corruption charges. They are accused of receiving and paying bribes, primarily for rigging bids for broadcast and advertising rights for major international football tournaments. But the role of banks in processing the payments, and holding accounts for the various officials and companies has so far gone largely unnoticed.

“You can’t stuff this kind of cash under a mattress, so you need a bank willing to handle the money. What FIFA officials are accused of doing is disgraceful, but this kind of behaviour will keep happening until we close the loopholes in the global financial system which make it so easy to move suspect funds. Until banks start asking the right questions, dodgy officials, terrorists, drug cartels and others will keep using the financial system in this way,” said Robert Palmer, Head of the Money-Laundering campaign at Global Witness.

The U.S. authorities have listed over 20 banks as having allegedly processed payments relating to the scandal, however, none of the banks have been accused of any wrongdoing so far. We look forward to hearing more details as the case progresses.

Global Witness has repeatedly exposed the way in which banks fuel and facilitate corruption. Our spokespeople are available to comment on this mostly unreported aspect of the FIFA story. 



  • Robert Palmer

  • Oliver Courtney

Notes to editor:

Global Witness was awarded the 2014 TED Prize in support of its campaign to end the abuse of anonymous shell companies.  

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