Netflix recently released a new docuseries on the FIFA corruption scandal. The four-part series delves into the history and mechanics of how the organization was corrupted.
FIFA Uncovered gives a fascinating glimpse of backdoor meetings within FIFA, cooperating witnesses with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, and interviews with insiders and former prosecutors. The access is incredible, and hearing first-hand accounts from both the prosecution and defense sides is rare. FIFA ex-chief Sepp Blatter appears throughout in his own defense.
The teaser for the first episode reads:
In 2015, 14 executive members of FIFA are arrested on suspicion of corruption. An investigation ensues into how the World Cup’s host country is selected.
The production does a good job of showing the web of corruption. How it effects people professionally and personally, as well as how societies and countries are eroded by it.
The story is too big to be completely told even in a four-part series. Here’s some background to go in with.
The DOJ charged 42 individuals in a 92-count, 240-page superseding indictment unsealed in December 2015; most of the defendants were charged with racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracies.
In October 2016, Aaron Davidson, a Miami-based marketing executive, pleaded guilty to racketeering and wire fraud conspiracies for helping pay $14 million in bribes to Jeffrey Webb, a former FIFA vice president and president of CONCACAF, the sanctioning body for soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean.
In December 2016, a South American sports marketing company, Torneos y Competencias S.A., agreed to pay $112.8 million in forfeiture and criminal penalties after it was charged in federal court in Brooklyn with wire fraud conspiracy related to millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks it paid to FIFA officials to win broadcast rights for the 2018, 2022, 2026, and 2030 FIFA World Cups.
In June 2017, a former managing director of Julius Baer pleaded guilty to a money laundering conspiracy. He admitted arranging financial transfers from 2010 to 2015 of more than $25 million in bribes and kickbacks that a FIFA official took from a sports media company based in Argentina.
Over 20 defendants have pleaded guilty.
The U.S. never charged Sepp Blatter with anything.