Warning to banks on Fifa finances is withdrawn


An alert issued last week, suggesting that banks failed to police suspicious financial activity by Fifa officials, has been deleted by the anti-money laundering outfit that issued it.

On 16 June the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) said that “reports about alleged corruption and money laundering activities… by several high-ranking Fifa officials underscore how important it is that financial institutions identify and monitor high-risk customers”.

The alert added that financial institutions “do not appear to have given a sufficient amount of scrutiny to the… officials concerned, as many of these… transfers passed through the international financial system undetected.” However the Fifa notice did not appear on the search engine on FATF’s website and by yesterday morning it had disappeared from Google searches, Reuters reported.

Roger Wilkins, FATF’s president, said he took the decision to remove the statement from the agency’s website due to concerns about its phrasing and a lack of evidence to support the claims. “We don’t want to interfere with ongoing investigations and the way it’s phrased could be misconstrued,” he said.

As well as the US inquiry, in which nine current and former Fifa officials and five business executives are indicted on corruption charges, Switzerland is investigating possible corruption in connection the award of World Cup hosting rights to Moscow in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.

Switzerland’s Attorney General, Michael Lauber, said his investigators were examining 104 banking relationships and 53 suspicious transactions.

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