UK

Barclays and Standard Chartered launch Fifa payment reviews

FBI investigators remove documents after the arrests of several senior Fifa officials Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption FBI investigators remove documents after the arrests of several senior Fifa officials

Two UK banks named in FBI papers have launched internal reviews into whether they were used for corrupt payments by Fifa officials, the BBC understands.

Standard Chartered confirmed it was investigating, while Barclays is also understood to have begun a review.

HSBC was also named in FBI indictments against 14 people, including seven Fifa officials arrested in Switzerland. The banks were not accused of wrongdoing.

Labour has called on PM David Cameron to hold urgent talks about Fifa.

In a letter to Mr Cameron, shadow culture secretary Chris Bryant said an emergency summit was needed as "Britain cannot stand idly by" during the crisis.

He also called for British sponsors of Fifa and the World Cup, together with broadcasters and all the UK's Football Associations to establish "a common position".

"If no substantial change is forthcoming at Fifa, serious consideration should be given to the option of Uefa withdrawing from Fifa and coordinating alternative competitions," he wrote.

Last week, Mr Cameron said he wanted to see reform of world football's governing body.

Meanwhile Corinne Blatter - Fifa President Sepp Blatter's daughter - told the BBC that people were "working behind the scenes" against her father, saying he was not the person "taking money".

FBI indictment

Arrests - including seven Fifa officials held in Switzerland - came in the run-up to Friday's Fifa leadership election, in which Mr Blatter was re-elected as president for a fifth term.

Mr Blatter's victory, which came after rival Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein withdrew from the second round of voting, came after he had faced calls to resign in the wake of the crisis.

European football's governing body Uefa had backed Prince Ali in the election, while Mr Cameron was among many prominent names calling on Mr Blatter to step down.

The seven Fifa officials were arrested after the US Department of Justice issued a 47-count indictment - which followed an FBI investigation - charging 14 people with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies over a 24-year period.

Investigators say they have uncovered more than £100m ($150m) paid in bribes.

Along with the FBI investigation, Swiss prosecutors have launched a second criminal case looking into the bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which were respectively awarded to Russia and Qatar.


Analysis

By BBC business correspondent Joe Lynam

Dozens of banks were named in the 164-page FBI indictment of seven Fifa officials last week.

Some are tiny banks that most of us had not heard of - but three large UK banks were also there.

They weren't accused of anything - merely cited by the FBI as evidence of payments made by "co-conspirators" and the banks they used to funnel illicit wire transfers.

Nonetheless Barclays, Standard Chartered and HSBC will be actively looking at all payments through their global networks which might be tied to the accused officials and Fifa in general.

HSBC and Standard Chartered will be especially nervous. They've already paid fines in the past three years of almost £1.3bn ($2bn) and £650m ($1bn) respectively to US regulators for permitting money laundering or for flouting US sanctions.

Barclays might also be anxious because the roll-call of huge fines paid to domestic and international watchdogs seems to get longer every month.


Labour's shadow health secretary Andy Burnham earlier called on England to boycott the next World Cup in 2018.

The former sports minister told BBC Radio 5 Live's Pienaar's Politics there was a "pretty overwhelming case" for the FA to act.

He said he had long had doubts about Russia hosting the event.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionGreg Dyke says Prince William is "upset about what has happened"

However, FA chairman Greg Dyke said it cannot act alone.

He told BBC One's the Andrew Marr Show: "It's got to be done by enough nations to have an impact, if it's done.

"It would be ridiculous to try to do it on your own because all we'd do is pull out of the World Cup and everyone would say 'well done' and they'd forget all about us.

"We've got to do it alongside other large footballing nations."

'Put the sport first'

Mr Dyke added that FA president the Duke of Cambridge was also unhappy with the recent events concerning Fifa.

"I was talking to him about it at the FA Cup final on Saturday. He is obviously upset by what's happened and he feels quite strongly about it," Mr Dyke said.

On Saturday, Prince William urged the world football governing body to "show that it can represent the interests of fair play and put the sport first".

Image copyright PA
Image caption Greg Dyke said Uefa president Michel Platini must unite Europe

"It would be very difficult but sometimes you've got to take a stand and you've got to say whether it's right or wrong," he said.

"And I can't see how it feels right to me to send an England team to Russia to play in a World Cup as if nothing has happened. Qatar too - but that's an issue that's further down the line.

"If enough people take that stand and follow our lead, then we will see new arrangements for the 2018 World Cup which I believe is what we need."

Mr Blatter has said the organisation can move on from its current crisis, following his election win.

"It's no longer a storm, it's less strong at the moment," he said. "I will continue to struggle and fight for good things."

Related Topics