Russian officials have utterly denied bribing a FIFA voter with millions of dollars to support the country’s winning 2018 World Cup bid, after American prosecutors revealed new details about the alleged payments.
Government spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia had no part in bribing FIFA executive committee members to win the World Cup hosting vote in December 2010, so did Russia’s top soccer official Alexey Sorokin, who led the bid.
“We can’t understand what this is about, or how to react,” Sorokin told The Associated Press, referring to claims in a U.S. Department of Justice indictment unsealed late Monday.
“We the bid committee had nothing to do with this and it looks like a perfect conspiracy theory.” He said.
The accusation said high-ranking FIFA official Jack Warner of Trinidad and Tobago received $5 million in bribes to vote for Russia from 10 different offshore shell companies, which used correspondent accounts in the U.S.
However, Sorokin acknowledged hiring Americans in the 2009-10 bidding campaign in which Russia beat three rival European bids to host the 2018 World Cup.
“There was a designer company most likely having a legal address in the U.S. There were a number of companies which one was U.S. based and which one was not, honestly, it’s hard to say right now.” Sorokin said in an interview.
FIFA’s ethics committee found in 2014 that Russia and other candidates, including 2022 World Cup host Qatar, broke some bidding rules but they did not affect the results.
By Ofhani Munyai