Swiss banker details FIFA corruption, cites bribes to Sepp Blatter right-hand man

Jorge Luis Arzuaga, a former Swiss banker, pleaded guilty for money laundering and admitted paying millions of dollars in bribes to late former FIFA executive and Argentina soccer federation president Julio Grondona. 

According to the United States Department of Justice, Arzuaga, an Argentine national, worked as a private banker at two institutions in Switzerland and assisted a sports marketing company in paying bribes to high-ranking soccer officials. It is believed that the bribes were for television rights for soccer competitions. The DOJ's report does not identify the recipient of the funds as Grondona, who died in 2014, but many reports have stated that it is Grondona, the former right-hand man to former FIFA president Sepp Blatter, both long linked with corruption inside the sport's world governing body. 

The DOJ added: " In total, according to the information, Arzuaga assisted in paying more than $25 million in bribes into the account. Following the death of the beneficial owner of the account, Arzuaga arranged for the balance of the funds remaining in the account to be distributed to the soccer official's heirs, the information states. In exchange for his assistance in facilitating the payment of these bribes, the information states that Arzuaga received approximately $1,046,000 in bonus payments."

The DOJ's report says Arzuaga regularly met with Grondona to tell him how much money was in the account and knowingly opened the account under the name of a company knowing Grondona's long history with corruption. 

Arzuaga was also under investigation by Swiss authorities as part of 25 FIFA investigations, according to the AP.

Those cases were not specified, but the AP reports that criminal proceedings are open against Blatter and others, including German legend Franz Beckenbauer, who helped organize the 2006 World Cup in his native country. 

Authorities are currently analyzing 19 terabytes of electronic documents seized in the investigation. It's not yet known what type of punishments could head Blatter's way but it's safe to say that this puts him under immense pressure as he's long been linked with corruption inside FIFA. The fact that so much has been discovered regarding Grondona, his No. 2, doesn't bode well for what may soon be uncovered. 


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Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Goal.com... Full Bio

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