FIFA recently ask the Justice Department for a share of the monies it obtains through forfeiture and penalties from individuals it has prosecuted around the FIFA corruption scandal. As reported by the New York Times (NTY) however, the organization is really seeking to change the perception of it from a corrupt enterprise to the victim. It is certainly unusual for a victim to seek some type of reimbursement so early in criminal proceedings, especially with no persons sentenced as yet.
Yet FIFA is seeking to cement its “place as a victim in the eyes of both prosecutors and the public and to telegraph the organization’s distance from generations of disgraced leaders.” But FIFA must do more than simply claim such victim status. It must work to clean up its own house as well if it is to have any chance of receiving monies back. While the entity finally did elect a successor to FIFA President Sepp Blatter last month, it has yet to conclude and report on its internal investigation into the allegations of corruption. Indeed the NYT even indicated that U.S. authorities have suggested the FIFA investigation might end with no one being terminated from the organization.
FIFA has claimed that it is entitled to a share of the bribe money which was paid, “salaries and bonuses paid to people who were supposed to be supporting the sport” as well as ongoing investigative costs. In addition to the hubris in claiming that it is a victim, FIFA will have to overcome the U.S. allegation that it was a corrupted organization. The article quoted Serina Vash, a former federal prosecutor who said that “victims who “knowingly contribute to, participate in, benefit from, or act in a willfully blind manner toward the Commission of the offense” are unable to collect money, and they must prove they have not been otherwise compensated for their loss.”
Does that sound anything like the FIFA we have come to know since the original arrests from May 2015?