FIFA have suffered yet another blow today, after it was confirmed that recently elected president Gianni Infantino had been drawn into the ‘Panama Papers’ scandal.
The footballing organisation has been shrouded with scandals and corruption in recent months, which led to the departure and banning of former president Sepp Blatter, as well as UEFA chief Michel Platini.
Infantino replaced the former after winning the election last month in Zurich, but yet again there’s trouble brewing at the organisation which involves the recently announced ‘Panama Papers’ scandal.
Files were reportedly seen by the Guardian which saw Infantino play a part in deals that were concluded when he was director of legal services at UEFA – ran by Platini until recently when he was given a ban.
The aforementioned source reports that the files show a decade ago, when Infantino worked at UEFA, the organisation sold the rights for broadcasting its club competitions in South America, before the company that bought them sold them for ‘three or four’ times more than they paid.
The organisation that bought those rights – Cross Trading, which is a subsidiary of a company called Full Play according to the Guardian – is owned by Hugo Jinkis, who has a history of corruption and bribes, and is currently under house arrest in his home country.
According to the records from the aforementioned report, UEFA concluded offshore deals with one of the figures at the heart of an alleged “World Cup of fraud” – putting Infantino in some trouble.
The documents, which were signed by Infantino between 2003 and 2006, link UEFA to the scandal which unravelled around Blatter, although the Guardian says that the organisation has denied any wrongdoing.
The paper goes on to say that UEFA insist the contracts were all ‘above board’, and Infantino played no part in anything.
The Panama Papers are 11.5 million documents which were provided by an unnamed source to a German newspaper – Suddeutsche Zeitung – more than a year ago, and were taken from an offshore firm called Mossack Fonseca.
The information which has been leaked implicates a whole host of big names, such as president Mauricio Macri of Argentina, president Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine, the Prime Minister of Iceland, the Prime Minister of Pakistan and Argentina forward Lionel Messi, as reported by The New York Times.
The scandal will be the last thing that Infantino or FIFA want, after a whirlwind few months for the world and European footballing governing bodies.
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