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Leaked Emails Claim to Show Russia’s FIFA World Cup Bribery Scheme

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) speaks to former FIFA President Sepp Blatter during the 2014 World Cup final between Germany and Argentina at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Emails claiming to show how to improve Russia’s bid to host the FIFA World Cup by bribing world football’s decision-makers have leaked, the investigative news website The Insider has reported.

Russia won hosting rights for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in a 2010 vote, beating out fellow contenders England, Spain-Portugal and Belgium-Netherlands. Former FIFA boss Sepp Blatter blamed the bidding process for the Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 World Cups for sparking the high-profile corruption case that took down Blatter and other senior football officials in 2015.

Emailed “dossiers” of senior FIFA officials including legends Franz Beckenbauer and Michel Platini contained instructions on how to bribe them, according to screenshots of the documents published by The Insider on Tuesday.

“Beckenbauer’s adviser Fedor Radmann offers his vote for a generous reward for consultation services,” reads the German player and manager’s dossier. Another attachment names 3 million euros ($3.3 million) as Radmann’s consultation fee and 1.5 million euros more for Russia’s winning bid.

Platini’s dossier offers a choice of influencing him through either the UEFA European football governing body’s commercial partners or through a senior UEFA member “whom he owes a great deal.” 

A Russian organizing committee executive allegedly sent the March 2010 email to three Russian officials, including committee chairman Arkady Dvorkovich, The Insider reported. The news website said it obtained the leaked email from the anonymously run BlackMirror Telegram channel.

Alexei Sorokin, the chief executive of Russia’s World Cup organizing committee dating back to 2010, called the report of a leaked World Cup bribery dossier “nonsense” and “fake.” 

“Why should a bidding committee employee write anything to [then-lawmaker Sergei] Kapkov? Kapkov took no part in the bidding activity. To me, all of this looks fabricated from start to finish,” Sorokin told the RBC news website Wednesday.

Kapkov was one of three recipients of the leaked email, The Insider said. It said the documents were obtained from Kapkov’s breached inbox. 

“All our ‘pressure’ was [exerted] in open contacts and we have repeatedly answered all sorts of questions on this matter, including during the official investigation,” Sorokin said.

FIFA in 2014 launched an investigation into allegations of corruption in the World Cup bidding process but found no grounds for re-running the vote.

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