Federal authorities believe that Sepp Blatter’s top lieutenant at FIFA made $10 million in bank transactions that are central elements of the bribery scandal engulfing international soccer, United States officials and others briefed on the case said Monday. The revelation puts the money trail closer to Mr. Blatter, FIFA’s president, than had been previously known.
Jérôme Valcke, the soccer organization’s secretary general, is the unidentified “high-ranking FIFA official” who prosecutors say transferred $10 million in 2008 from FIFA to accounts controlled by another soccer official, Jack Warner, the officials said. The payment is a key piece of last week’s indictment accusing Mr. Warner of taking a bribe in exchange for helping South Africa secure the right to host the 2010 World Cup.
The indictment does not say that the high-ranking official knew that the money was being used as a bribe, and unlike many other FIFA officials and marketing executives, Mr. Valcke is not identified as a co-conspirator in the document. Danny Jordaan, the chief executive of South Africa’s World Cup bid and the current president of its soccer federation, has said the money was not a bribe but a legitimate payment into a soccer development fund in the Caribbean.
The original article can be found at www.nytimes.com