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Netflix revives FIFA corruption scandal as 2022 World Cup looms

This week, Netflix blew the whistle on the FIFA corruption scandal; German authorities sought to end unlimited cash transactions; and the FBI may issue FTX’s ex-CEO a red card.

Eimer Cotter
November 18, 2022

This week, the new documentary again blew the whistle on the FIFA corruption and money laundering scandal around the 22nd football World Cup in Qatar, just ahead of kick-off. While the world’s best footballers laced up their boots for the sport’s glittering showpiece, German authorities sought to help give the boot to money laundering by stamping out unlimited cash transactions; and the FBI was reported to be considering showing the ex-CEO of collapsed crypto exchange, FTX, a red card.

Find out more on these stories below.

Documentary casts a long shadow over Qatar World Cup by exposing FIFA’s history of corruption scandals

A new documentary series, FIFA uncovered, which traces the timeline of the FIFA World Cup corruption scandal, started streaming in early November 2022. Its release comes just weeks before the 22nd edition of the quadrennial football showdown gets under way in Qatar later in the month, the first time it has been held in the Middle East.

The four-part series traces the roots of the scandal as far back as 1974 when, under FIFA president João Havelange, the World Cup organisation first attracted the immense funding of major sponsors, gradually ushering in an era of lucrative but shady dealings among successions of the football governing body’s executive leadership as the game went global.

A BBC documentary first questioned the process by which FIFA World Cup Committee’s member-countries were awarded the mega money-spinning hosting rights in 2010. A spate of accusations, counterclaims, resignations, and a single lifetime ban from any FIFA-related activities followed.

Subsequent investigations culminated in multiple indictments being unsealed against then-incumbent and past high-ranking FIFA officials by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2015. The charges included racketeering, corruption, conspiracy, bribery, fraud, and money laundering. In 2020 the DOJ further laid related charges against a total of 16 individuals and one Argentina-based sports promotions company.

Most recently the disgraced ex-FIFA vice-president, Jack Warner, was reported on 17 November 2022 to have lost his appeal against extradition from his native Trinidad and Tobago to the US to face the DOJ charges laid against him.

The FIFA World Cup is set to get under way on 20 November 2022 in Al Khor, when the host nation takes on Ecuador in Group A.

Find a review of the hit documentary series at The Guardian.

German Minister wants €10,000 cash payment limit instated to combat money laundering

The German Federal Minister of the Interior, Nancy Faeser, made the proposal on the eve of a Germany-hosted summit of world- and European Union (EU) regional representatives to discuss various security concerns and cybercrime.

Faeser believes that imposing the cap will make all transactions above €10,000 throughout Germany, which currently has no upper limit to cash transaction amounts, electronically traceable, making it harder for criminals to launder illicit funds. She added that “a €30,000 cash purchase of jewellery or watches should soon be a thing of the past,” which she hopes will disable criminal organisations who currently employ this method of money laundering.

The proposal echoes one made by the EU parliament in 2021, which also sought a €10,000 cash payment limit to counter money laundering and terrorist financing. Other European countries already have upper cash transaction limits in place for these purposes, including Greece (€500), and Croatia (€15,000).

Faeser’s proposal was not without its critics, as the Bavarian Finance Minister, Albert Füracker, argued earlier that large cash payments were ‘quick’ and ‘independent’ and that the removal of the right to them violated ‘privacy’, adding that such a move did not address cybercrime, which ‘gets along entirely without cash’.

The EU parliament is set to announce a legislative proposal for a digital Euro in early 2023.

Read more on this story at European Conservative.

FBI and Bahamian authorities possibly considering extraditing ex-FTX CEO to US for questioning

It has been alleged in media that Sam Bankman-Fried (also known as ‘SBF’), the ex-CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, which collapsed spectacularly in recent weeks with devastating knock-on consequences, could face extradition to the US from the Bahamas if claims of negotiations between US and Bahamian authorities are true.

The colourful and vocal Bankman-Fried, who founded FTX in 2019, is known to be in the Bahamas with fellow ex-FTX leaders Gary Wang, his co-founder, and the company’s former engineering director, Nishad Singh. It was also reported on 13 November 2022 that the Royal Bahamas Police were investigating the FTX collapse to establish whether criminal acts had been committed.

The jaw-dropping speed at which FTX crashed and burned, wiping out more than $1b of customers’ money in the process, started on 2 November 2022 and is ongoing, including SBF’s brief, expletives-filled Twitter apology on 10 November 2022, which he concluded by remarking that he “should have done better.”

Turkish authorities are reportedly now also investigating Bankman-Fried.

Read more on this story at Coin Telegraph.

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